Category: General

WWW Wednesday

Posted August 26, 2020 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Keeping it quiet for another week and just posting here and not going round other blogs in the link roundup… but looking forward to hearing what blog regulars are reading!

Cover of A Dangerous Collaboration by Deanna RaybournWhat are you currently reading?

I decided I wanted something light and fun, so I’m reading Deanna Raybourn’s A Dangerous Collaboration. I normally tear through these because I can read great big chunks at a time, and so it is proving this time.

Mind you, Skyrim is really distracting, or I’d probably have finished it already…

Cover of The Secret Life of Bones by Brian SwitekWhat have you recently finished reading?

Last thing I read was Brian Switek’s The Secret Life of Bones. He’s primarily known for his enthusiasm about dinosaurs, but this is actually largely about human bones. Other species come into it for illustrative purposes, and a good broad sweep of evolutionary history is discussed to explain how bones in general developed… but mostly it is about human bone. I enjoyed it.

What will you be reading next?

I’m gonna go with “goodness knows”, again. I just spent a birthday cheque from my grandma on a couple more birthday books… and there’s some library books… and books I fancy rereading. So I’ll just go “as my Whimsy takes me”, as ever.

What are you reading?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted August 22, 2020 by Nicky in General / 3 Comments

Good evening, folks! Last week I took off owing to the confluence of a sick rabbit and damaging myself by falling onto the corner of a coffee table, but my ribs are fair to middling now and the rabbit seems back to normal, and it’s been my birthday, so I should catch up!

This post was supposed to go up this morning, but the infamous WordPress “missed schedule” issue bit me. Booo.

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Books acquired:

Cover of Unfit For Purpose by Adam Hart Cover of The Contact Paradox by Keith Cooper Cover of Cinderella Is Dead by Kalynn Bayron Cover of The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Cover of The Shipwreck Hunter by David L. Mearns Cover of Kindred by Rebecca Wragg Sykes Cover of Nodding Off by Alice Gregory

With most but not all of those being birthday presents from my wife! Aaand here are the eARCs:

Cover of Evie and the Pack-Horse Librarians by Laurel Beckley Cover of Out on the Ice by Kelly Farmer Cover of Dead Man in a Ditch by Luke Arnold

Cover of The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix Cover of An Unnatural Life by Erin K. Wagner Cover of Architect of Memory by Karen Osborne

A nice bunch! Thanks to the publishers!

Books read since my last roundup:

Cover of Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood Cover of Burnout by Emily & Amelia Nagoski Cover of When the Tiger Came Down The Mountain by Nghi Vo Cover of The Arsenal Stadium Mystery by Leonard Gribble Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Cover of Botanical Folk Tales of Britain and Ireland by Lisa Schneidau Cover of The Seventh Perfection by Daniel Polansky Cover of The Woman in the Wardrobe by Peter Shaffer Cover of The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke Arnold Cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Reviews posted:

Other posts:

And that’s it for this week! How’s everyone doing?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted August 20, 2020 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Ever so slightly belated WWW Wednesday!

Cover of The Last Smile in Sunder City by Luke ArnoldWhat are you currently reading? 

The Last Smile in Sunder City, by Luke Arnold. The cover is so blatantly copying from Ben Aaronovitch’s fairly iconic covers that it raises my eyebrow every time, the narration is trying so hard to be Raymond Chandler without his absolute knowledge of where every word should go, and if Jim Butcher isn’t an influence as well I’ll eat my bookshelf. That said, it’s fun as well, and when it gives trying to coin a phrase a rest for five minutes, I’m settling into it well.

Cover of The Woman in the Wardrobe by Peter ShafferWhat have you recently finished reading?

The Woman in the Wardrobe, by Peter Shaffer, and before that, The Seventh Perfection. The latter is very cleverly narrated, and I really need to sit down and put my review into words before it slips away. I sense that the narration is going to drive a lot of people absolutely up the wall, but I thought everything was worked out pretty cleverly.

What will you be reading next?

There’s a good chance it’ll be one of the books I got for my birthday! The one I’m probably most excited about is Kindred: Neanderthal Life, Love, Death and Art, by Rebecca Wragg Sykes… but The Contact Paradox (Keith Cooper) is also calling to me.

What are you currently reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted August 13, 2020 by Nicky in General / 3 Comments

Not joining the linkup this week… just too darn tired again. But I’d love to hear from anyone who drops by!

Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky ChambersWhat are you currently reading?

I’m rereading The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for a Habitica group read. I enjoy it a lot, the sense of family and love and compromise, and it’s proving a good read when (because we can’t catch a break) one of our bunnies is a bit off. Also, it’s hot, and I generally don’t want to do anything when I’m too warm, so having something familiar I can sink into is very appealing.

Cover of Burnout by Emily & Amelia NagoskiWhat have you recently finished reading?

Burnout, by Emily and Amelia Nagoski. It’s a self-help book and typical of the breed in many ways, including an overly chummy and simplified writing style that doesn’t tend to work for my brain. It did give me some ideas for stuff to do better for myself, even if it is deeply focused on assigned-female-at-birth people who identify as female and are treated as such. If you’re not fond of — or at least able to put up with — being addressed in “you go girl” terms constantly, it’s not going to be for you.

What will you be reading next?

Totally, totally unknown. I’ll probably try to return to and finish The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu, though.

What are you reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books My Bookclub Have Read

Posted August 11, 2020 by Nicky in General / 31 Comments

This week’s theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is books you love and haven’t reviewed, but I’ve been reviewing every book I’ve read for fifteen years now. So I’m going off-piste with a retrospective on my “book club”. I run it on Habitica, with a book each month, and I pick all the books based on my whim in that moment. I don’t guarantee the books’ quality or literary value or anything like that; it’s literally just a book I want to read, probably one I already own. It’s been a nice way to get some accountability for reading books from my shelves, and read alongside other people… without having to put up with anyone else’s taste in books. 😂

So here’s a shortlist of ones I’ve enjoyed discussing with the group…

Cover of The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon Cover of Seeds of Science by Mark Lynas Cover of Pale Rider by Laura Spinney Cover of The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard Cover of Murder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac

  1. The Priory of the Orange Tree, by Samantha Shannon. I’ve actually not finished this one yet, since I’m also reading it with my Beeminder coworkers at a nice conservative rate everyone can stick to. We’re near the end now! I’ve really enjoyed it, and even enjoyed reading it in this really slow drip-wise fashion, because it was something I could always manage, no matter how crappy I was feeling about reading (or how daunted by the size of the book).
  2. Seeds of Science, by Mark Lynas. This is by someone who was previously really anti-GM, and came to change his mind. He picks away at some of the myths and lies around genetically modified food, and makes an excellent case for a rethink.
  3. Pale Rider, by Laura Spinney. I’ve read two books on the 1918 flu pandemic, and I honestly couldn’t choose one over the other; both looked at it from slightly different angles, though I think perhaps Spinney dug a bit further on the social and cultural effects.
  4. The House of Shattered Wings, by Aliette de Bodard. I kept thinking this wouldn’t be my thing, and then picked it for the book club to encourage me to give it a try. Lo and behold, I inhaled it! Such a fascinating mixture of mythologies, and a fantastic setting.
  5. Murder by Matchlight, by E.C.R. Lorac. I’m not sure if this was the first book I read by E.C.R. Lorac… it might have been. Either way, it was the one that switched her work from the “it’s a British Library Crime Classic, so I’ll probably get it and try it” to “I’ll pick up anything I find by her”. Her mysteries are often deeply rooted in a place, so that you can almost smell the farms or the fires of the Blitz.
  6. The Bell at Sealey Head, by Patricia McKillip. Pretty much anything by McKillip is going to be interesting, though I sometimes find the conclusions to her stories a bit difficult to follow. The Bell at Sealey Head was one I tore through, though.
  7. Provenance, by Ann Leckie. I’d have read this one anyway, and the Habitica challenge might actually have been for a reread for me. I love Provenance a lot; it’s not doing the same things as the Imperial Radch books, and it doesn’t feel the same in terms of narration or characters or plot. I think that led some people to be disappointed in it, but I wasn’t.
  8. Hild, by Nicola Griffith. Confession: I still haven’t actually finished this. But some of the descriptions are just perfect and beautiful, and I still mean to come back and finish it.
  9. The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas. I probably wouldn’t have read this one without a book club, because YA with a contemporary setting isn’t normally my thing. I’m really glad I did, though; this book deserves all the hype.
  10. Girl Waits With Gun, by Amy Stewart. I should really read the second book in this series, because I read the first book sooo fast. As I recall, it wasn’t a universal win in the book club… but I really enjoyed the story, and appreciated learning about the real Constance Kopp as well.

Cover of The Bell at Sealey Head by Patricia McKillip Cover of Provenance by Ann Leckie Cover of Hild by Nicola Griffith Cover of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Cover of Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

One thing I want to do going forward is diversify the picks a bit — there have been authors of various marginalisations in the lineup, but I can do better. Luckily I’ve been picking up plenty of books that will qualify for that, in the past year!

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Weekly Roundup

Posted August 8, 2020 by Nicky in General / 20 Comments

Greetings, folks! This has been a good week for ARCs, and passable for reading… and I have my replacement ereader now, so I can get back to some neglected library books. Hurrah! It’s also been pretty busy in terms of posting reviews, which I hadn’t realised until starting this post. Whoa!

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

Books acquired:

Cover of Queen of the Conquered by Kacen Callender Cover of Crowning Soul by Sahira Javaid Cover of Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire Cover of When the Tiger Came Down The Mountain by Nghi Vo

Cover of Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor Cover of A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel Cover of The Right Sort of Man by Allison Montclair

Thank you to the publishers who let me have ARCs (mostly Tor!) and also the two lovelies who have bought me books this week. You know how to spoil a Nicky, and it’s appreciated deeply.

Books read this week:

Cover of Mystery at Olympia by John Rhode Cover of Lock In by John Scalzi Cover of Head On by John Scalzi Cover of A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon Cover of The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo by Zen Cho

Reviews posted this week:

Other posts:

  • Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Colours in the Title. A motley bunch! Most of which I haven’t read yet, actually…
  • WWW Wednesday. The usual update, discussing A Scream in Soho and John Scalzi.
  • Hobbit Birthday. Giveaway still going on! Open worldwide; £50 to spend at Portal Bookshop for one winner, £15 for two others. (It’s possible to figure out a different bookshop if Portal don’t ship to you!)

Whoa, that took some rounding up.

So how’re you folks? Been reading anything good, or stacking your shelves with anything shiny? I got my finished copy of Seven Devils as well, this week, so that’s something to look forward to!

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WWW Wednesday

Posted August 5, 2020 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

It’s Wednesday again! So here’s the usual check-in. You can go to Taking On A World Of Words to chat with everyone else who has posted what they’re reading right now!

Cover of A Scream in Soho by John G. BrandonWhat are you currently reading?

Probably a bunch of stuff that I’ve accidentally put down when I didn’t mean to… but primarily, I’ve just started A Scream in Soho, by John G. Brandon. There’s so much period-typical racial stereotyping (largely about Italians, but Germans too), and the murdered person is… well, the way the story puts it is that it’s a man disguised as a woman. Which the plot will probably bear out, given they’re probably a spy. Still, it’s not exactly aged well in various ways.

Cover of Lock In by John ScalziWhat have you recently finished reading?

I devoured a reread of John Scalzi’s Lock In, and then followed it up with the sequel, Head On. I’ve been meaning to read it for ages, and I didn’t really need the reread of the first book… but it was nice. I still need to sit down and do my review of Head On and think through it, but I tore through both books.

Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky ChambersWhat will you be reading next?

Goodness knows! I want to reread The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet for a Habitica book club readalong, so there’s that… but I also just got my replacement ereader and I had a bunch of books part-read on Libby that I need to get into the queues for again. If they’re not currently reserved, maybe I’ll be able to grab them and restart on those.

But as usual, it could really be anything.

What are you currently reading?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Colours in the Title

Posted August 4, 2020 by Nicky in General / 16 Comments

Sorry I missed last week, folks! It was a heckuva week, for sure. Anyway, this week is a bit like a scavenger hunt for me, because I’m not sure I can actually think of books I like with colours in their titles… so I’m going to survey my shelves for whatever I can find.

Cover of Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston Cover of The Silver Branch by Rosemary Sutcliff Cover of The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristin Lambert Cover of Black Leopard Red Wolf by Marlon James Cover of Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse

  1. Red, White & Royal Blue, by Casey McQuiston. I haven’t read this one, and I really really want to.
  2. The Silver Branch, by Rosemary Sutcliff. This I have read, of course, though I wish I could find the editions I had as a kid. I read ’em to pieces, though The Eagle of the Ninth was my favourite.
  3. The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert. A recent acquisition, so one I haven’t read yet. It looks so fun, though!
  4. Black Leopard, Red Wolf, by Marlon James. I haven’t read it yet, and I’m not entirely sure it’s going to be my thing based on reviews… but I’m eager to give it a go.
  5. Black Sun, by Rebecca Roanhorse. Okay, this is actually on my wishlist and not on my shelves because it’s not out yet.
  6. All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. Oh, Murderbot. <3
  7. Redemption in Indigo, by Karen Lord. I’ve been meaning to reread this, I remember loving it but not much about it.
  8. The Black God’s Drums, by P. Djèlí Clark. Loved this novella so much!
  9. The Ballad of Black Tom, by Victor LaValle. I was less of a fan of this Lovecraft retelling, but it kinda sticks in my head!
  10. A Pale Light in the Black, by K.B. Wagers. Another one that’s on my TBR but which I haven’t read yet…

Cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells Cover of Redemption in Indigo by Karen Lord Cover of The Black God's Drums Cover of The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle Cover of A Pale Light in the Black by K.B. Wagers

As you can see, I have a TBR problem, insofar as that can be considered a problem!

How’d everyone else do with the scavenger hunt? Or could you think of enough books with colours in the title that you could pick out your favourites? I’m looking forward to seeing all the obvious ones I’ve missed…

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Weekly Roundup

Posted August 1, 2020 by Nicky in General / 17 Comments

Well, folks, it’s been quite the week. No new books, and we’ve been in quarantine after Lisa (my wife) developed some potential-COVID symptoms. We’ve both tested negative now and she’s on the mend, but phew it’s been tiring.

Linking up with The Sunday Post @ The Caffeinated Reviewer and Stacking the Shelves @ Reading Reality & Tynga’s Reviews.

So here’s what I have managed to read (not bad, though they were short!):

Books read this week:

Cover of Return of the Earl by Sandra Schwab Cover of Alike As Two Bees by Elin Gregory Cover of The Secret Lives of Colour by Kassia St Clair

Reviews posted this week:

Other posts:

  • WWW Wednesday. A quick update, mostly mentioning the books above.
  • Hobbit Birthday. Giveaway still going on! Open worldwide; £50 to spend at Portal Bookshop for one winner, £15 for two others. (It’s possible to figure out a different bookshop if Portal don’t ship to you!)

So that’s me for the week. How’s everyone else doing?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted July 29, 2020 by Nicky in General / 10 Comments

Hey folks! I’m not linking this one up, because I know I don’t have the energy to answer many people… but I’d love to hear from regulars. Lisa’s sick, and there’s an outside chance it might be COVID… so it’s quarantine for us.

Cover of The Lost Boys by Gina PerryWhat are you currently reading?

My wife’s sick, so I’m pretty brain-dead. I’m supposed to be finishing up The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu before the end of the month, but I think the chances are slim. I’ve tried to pick up The Lost Boys, by Gina Parry, which is about the Robbers Cave experiment by Muzafer Sherif; I really want to be interested, but I don’t have enough brain.

Kassia St. Clair’s The Secret Lives of Colour is going down better, because it has very short chapters.

Cover of Return of the Earl by Sandra SchwabWhat have you recently finished reading?

The Return of the Earl, by Sandra Schwab, which was kind of cute but won’t prove memorable. I had to look up the eponymous Earl’s name again to write my review two days later, eek.

Before that it was Rivers Solomon’s The Deep, which was less forgettable but which I haven’t quite managed to review yet.

Cover of The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky ChambersWhat will you be reading next?

I really have no idea. I’m being gently urged to reread some favourites, whether that’s Dorothy L. Sayers or Becky Chambers or something else, in the hopes that whatever it is will better suit my brain at the moment through its familiarity. Probably a solid plan, but who knows if I’ll stick to it.

What are you reading?

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