Category: General


Weekly Roundup

Posted 6 July, 2019 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s been a quiet week on most fronts, but I’ve done a fair bit of reading. What’s more, I had a greedily-awaited book come in months ahead of schedule, since I just got an e-ARC ooooof…:

I am very excited!

Books read this week:

Cover of The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams Cover of Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells Cover of Revenant Gun by Yoon Ha Lee

Cover of Forces of Nature by Brian Cox Cover of The Just City by Jo Walton Cover of Lifelode by Jo Walton

Reviews posted this week:

The Afterward, by E.K. Johnston. An enjoyably fluffy fantasy romance about what happens after an evil god fails to take over the world. 4/5 stars
A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan. A beloved favourite and a timely reread. This time I couldn’t help but appreciate the science the most. 5/5 stars
Extraordinary Insects, by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson. Insects might be extraordinary, but this book wasn’t. Maybe a good introduction? 2/5 stars
The Ninth Rain, by Jen Williams. A deeply satisfying fantasy world, with some fun characters to boot. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

A July TBR. Here I go, possibly biting off more than I can chew. It’s going well so far, though.
WWW Wednesday. The usual update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘NEAT RNA.‘ Yes, I found that there’s an RNA called NEAT1, and I had to write about it, because… well, what it does really is neat.

So what’s everyone else been up to? Good reading week? Anything enchanting on your pile?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 3 July, 2019 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.

Cover of The Just City by Jo WaltonWhat are you currently reading?

I’m getting stuck into a reread of The Just City! I never got round to reading the third book, and then I felt I’d better remind myself of all the details, so here I am. I do enjoy the way Simmea throws herself into her new life and makes it sound so wonderful, while we do see the gaps from the other points of view. Also it is weird reading this and knowing a character or two from Lent (and again, yes, I keep saying it, from Assassin’s Creed).

What have you recently finished reading?

I spent today (Tuesday, when I’m scheduling this post) finishing off Angela Saini’s Superior. It’s an interesting history of race science, but I’m not entirely sure I’d call it pop-science myself, though it seems to be being categorised there. I don’t feel like it gave me a good handle on the actual data presented by race scientists, or why it’s wrong other than It Just Is and some generalities. Granted, I haven’t looked at the original work at all yet — there is definitely science you can critique by saying it just does not work that way.

Cover of The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew WilliamsWhat will you be reading next?

Not sure! I should make a start on The Stars Now Unclaimed, as that’s a book club read. Admittedly I’ve peeked into it and read a handful of chapters already, but I’m really not far in. Not even enough to understand what I’m getting into, really!

What are you currently reading?

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A July TBR

Posted 1 July, 2019 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

How did I do with my June TBR? 10/10! Hurrah. So it seems like this idea is still working for me — and to be frank, between the Hugo nominees I still need to read and some agreements to catch up with particular series/authors, I’ve got quite a lot on my plate this month…

So here goes:

Cover of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyumi Cover of Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews Cover of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black Cover of Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers Cover of Hild by Nicola Griffith

  • Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi. I’ve been meaning to read this forever, and it’s on the Hugo ballot.
  • Magic Strikes, by Ilona Andrews. Always good to have something I know I’ll eat up in minutes on the list!
  • The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black. Was this really out just last year? (Oh, I see, just barely.) Anyway, it’s on the Hugo list, so I’m fitting it in at last! I seem to remember not always loving Holly Black’s books, but let’s give it a whirl.
  • Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers. I pounced on this when it was out in paperback, and then got busy. With the Hugos coming up, it’s time to dig back in!
  • Hild, by Nicola Griffith. I’ve, uh, had this half-read for a while. It’s time to finish up.
  • Forces of Nature, by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. I started this last week, and it sounds like a good way to get some non-fiction mixed in!
  • Tess of the Road, by Rachel Hartman. For the Lodestar Award voting!

Cover of Forces of Nature by Brian Cox  Cover of The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal

  • Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland. I wasn’t actually sure if I was going to vote in the YA category of the Hugos, and then the library had this in. So it’s this book’s fault I have such a full menu this month.
  • The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal. “Gah, finally” — my sister, probably.
  • The Fated Sky, by Mary Robinette Kowal. I hear that the books are best judged together, so…
  • Den of Wolves, by Juliet Marillier. Yay! Finally I will get round to this!
  • Late Eclipses, by Seanan McGuire. It’s the next in the series, and I really don’t want to lose sight of the series I’m reading in between all the other lovely books I want to cram into my brain.
  • Too Like the Lightning, by Ada Palmer. For whatever reason I’ve forgotten, I promised to read this by August, so okay, here goes! I’ve tried starting it once before, but it didn’t really work for me at the time. I was busy, though.

Cover of Den of Wolves by Juliet Marillier Cover of Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire Cover of Too Like The Lightning Cover of The Just City by Jo Walton

  • Superior, by Angela Saini. This is a book on race science I just picked up last week. I enjoyed Inferior, so here’s hoping this is as good.
  • The Just City, by Jo Walton. Technically I’ve promised to finish this whole trilogy, but I’ll start by rereading the first one!
  • The Philosopher Kings, by Jo Walton. Well, in for a penny…
  • Necessity, by Jo Walton. In for a pound. I haven’t actually read this one, but I’ll need to reread the first two before I can get to this one. My brain doesn’t hold the details, these days!
  • Lifelode, by Jo Walton. I loved this book, so I’m excited to revisit.
  • The Poison Song, by Jen Williams. I just finished The Bitter Twins and aaaah! Gotta know what happens.
  • The Stars Now Unclaimed, by Drew Williams. My Habitica book club pick for July, so it kinda has to go on my list.

Cover of The Philosopher Kings by Jo Walton Cover of Necessity by Jo Walton Cover of Lifelode by Jo Walton Cover of The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams

Should keep me busy, right?

N.B.: The original version of this to-read list had a book by a notorious racist who supported eugenics on it. I had no idea, and I’m sorry. I’ve swapped a different book in.

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Weekly Roundup

Posted 29 June, 2019 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

Good morning folks! I’m super tired this week, so I’ve been kind of dragging behind a little on everything, but hey, here I am. How’s everyone been?

Read this week:

Cover of Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse Cover of An Artificial Night by Seanan McGuire Cover of Lent by Jo Walton

Reviews posted this week:

Sunshine, by Robin McKinley. A reread of a book I used to adore! Still has a lot going for it, not least that end leaving everything open to the imagination. That’s also a frustration with it, at the exact same time. 4/5 stars
Valour & Vanity, by Mary Robinette Kowal. Kowal takes on a heist novel! Not my favourite, but it’s fun just to sit back and watch the versatility of this series. 4/5 stars
The Dark Days Club, by Alison Goodman. Decidedly meh. It felt so juvenile. 2/5 stars
Spineless, by Juli Berwald. Enjoyable pop-science with a touch of autobiography. Well, more than just a touch. 4/5 stars

Other posts:  

WWW Wednesday. The usual update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Poor little Pluto?‘ Is Pluto a good place to look for life? Well, at least the precursors to life, yes!

And now this post is written and ready to go out in the morning, I get to go and sleep.

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 26 June, 2019 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?

Actively, hm, I seem to have accidentally started Forces of Nature, by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen. I’m finding it more interesting than the other book in this series, and I actually understood some physics, so yaaaay me. I enjoyed the micro to macro to micro again discussion of snowflakes quite a bit. Here’s hoping the rest of the book keeps it up!

Other than that, I’m also reading The 10,000 Year Explosion, which I just picked up last week. I’m not very far into it, though.

Cover of Lent by Jo WaltonWhat have you recently finished reading?

I liiiiterally just finished reading Lent, Jo Walton’s new book. I feel like I might need to read the last couple of sections again to really compass it, but it feels like it ended quite abruptly. (On the other hand, much more repetition could have been infuriating. Hence the reread of the last bit, though to let it settle in so I can actually decide.)

Before that, it was An Artificial Night, because one of these days I’ll get through all the Toby Daye books.

Cover of The Bitter Twins by Jen WilliamsWhat will you be reading next?

Well, before the end of June I ideally want to finish The Bitter Twins and Revenant Gun, so I need to get stuck into one or the other. I’ve already started The Bitter Twins, so I think I’ll get stuck into that properly.

After that, who knows, but I have many ideas about what my July TBR will look like….

What are you currently reading?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted 22 June, 2019 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

It’s been another week! This week my sister took me out for some stress-busting book retail therapy, and it was Good. The bunnies gave me some pocket money, and I had £10 off from a full stamp card…

(I also got a stack of psychiatry textbooks from my mother, because it turns out my next degree will almost certainly be an MSc in Mental Health Science.)

Bought:

My usual rather odd mix, I think!

Read this week:

Cover of All Systems Red by Martha Wells Cover of Artificial Condition by Martha Wells

Reviews posted this week:

A Talent for Murder, by Andrew Wilson. I found this rather bland, despite the copious details of Christie’s life shoehorned in. Or possibly because of the shoehorning. 2/5 stars
Sorceror to the Crown, by Zen Cho. A reread, and just as enjoyable the second time! 4/5 stars
All Systems Red, by Martha Wells. A reread, because I hadn’t got round to the last book yet, and I wanted a refresher. I do love Murderbot, social anxiety and all. 4/5 stars
Fire Logic, by Laurie J. Marks. Just didn’t work for me. Slow, and there’s something about the style… meh. 2/5 stars

Other posts: 

WWW Wednesday. The usual update!

And that’s me! I caught up last week, only to find myself with a gazillion tabs open again now. Sigh. It never ends…

How’re you doing? Good books, something you’re excited about? Weirdest book ever on the go? Let me know!

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Weekly Roundup

Posted 15 June, 2019 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s been a good week: I’ve got back on top of comments I’ve owed for nearly a month, and I’m ready to get myself into more trouble again! I’ve also got some new books (though still not my hard copy of Jo Walton’s Lent… grrrr!) and I’ve been reading a fair bit.

[Edit: this did not go live on Saturday for some unknown reason. I was wondering why I hadn’t seen any comments!]

Acquired:

Read this week:

Cover of Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan Cover of A Talent for Murder by Andrew Wilson Cover of The Pandemic Century by Mark Honigsbaum Cover of The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall Cover of Tower of Thorns by Juliet Marillier

Reviewed this week:

Middlegame, by Seanan McGuire. The complex timeline made my reading experience a little jerky, but I loved the relationship between the characters and a lot of the ideas. 4/5 stars
Heartstopper, by Alice Oseman. Aaarggh it’s so cute. 4/5 stars
Raven Stratagem, by Yoon Ha Lee. Aaarggh it’s so clever. 4/5 stars
Magic Burns, by Ilona Andrews. I continue to think these books are underrated by a lot of people, though the pacing in this book is a bit off for me. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Mutants are taking over. Yep, you contain mutant cells, probably even cells with changes that can lead to cancer… and that’s (probably) totally fine.
NEAT science: ‘An easier way to amplify DNA.‘ Want to learn about how to copy DNA in the lab? Given news about a new technique for that, I explained the genius of the old technique… and why this new one would be such an improvement.

So that’s me. How’re you doing? What are you reading? What are you stacking your shelves with? Talk to me! I promise I will reply soon this time.

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 12 June, 2019 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 The Pandemic Century by Mark HonigsbaumWhat are you currently reading?

I’m most of the way through The Pandemic Century, by Mark Honigsbaum, which has lots of interesting titbits on various pandemics — some of which I didn’t know. I’m kind of waiting to see where it’s going, though, because it seems to be leaning a bit in the direction of “we can’t predict The Big One, so why get all hysterical about it?”. Which is worrying to me.

Also, I’m sure my family are wincing to hear it, given that I only recently made my mind up to do an MSc in mental health science, but gaaah I want to do more epidemiology and microbiology. Describing how researchers work in the labs that uncover the origins of pandemic disease makes me itch to do some of that work myself. Mind you, by next week I’ll be itching to be an archaeologist or something, so folks can be pretty sure I’ll circle back round to the MSc in time to enrol.

Cover of Tropic of Serpents by Marie BrennanWhat have you recently finished reading?

My reread of The Tropic of Serpents. That book — that whole series really — just fills me with joy. I’m gonna go right on and start on Voyage of the Basilisk… or, being honest with y’all, I already have. I could just eat up Isabella’s adventures, and I love her friendship with Tom Wilker. (I still wanna figure out which part of the UK Niddey sort of corresponds to; I assume probably Ireland, but I like to think of him as a Welshman.)

Cover of Lent by Jo WaltonWhat will you be reading next?

Other than more of Lady Trent’s adventures, I’ll be properly digging into Jo Walton’s Lent now. I have an e-copy because I was so impatient for it, but have been more in the mood for physical books. My physical copy should arrive soon, but even if not, I’m goin’ in! I was excited by the bit I’ve read, and amused because I just played through the Savonarola section of Assassin’s Creed 2.

What are you currently reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 5 June, 2019 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 The Dinosaurs Rediscovered by Michael J. BentonWhat are you currently reading?

The top of the pile right now is The Dinosaurs Rediscovered, by Michael J. Benton. Mostly it’s just an excuse to read about dinosaurs; I doubt there’s much that will surprise me, having read several recent dinosaur books in the last year or so. But maybe it will! We’ll see. I’m also reading The Warrior Queen, by Joanna Arman, which is shockingly badly edited. It’s very speculative and padded, which I sort of expect from a book about an Anglo-Saxon queen, but is still kind of disappointing.

Cover of Extraordinary Insects by Anne Sverdrup-ThygesonWhat have you recently finished reading?

After Wyrd and Wonder, I decided to combine a palate cleanser of something totally different with reading one of the books I’ve been buying. The result was that I read Extraordinary Insects. It’s… interesting enough if you don’t know much about insects and their importance in food webs, but I didn’t think I did know that much about insects, and yet failed to be surprised by much. Kinda meh in the end.

Cover of Heartstopper by Alice OsemanWhat will you be reading next?

Continuing the theme of palate-cleansing and reading my new books, probably Heartstopper. After that, we’ll see, but I’m thinking about The Bitter Twins (Jen Williams) and then Revenant Gun (Yoon Ha Lee) — the latter particularly because a) Hugos and b) my wife’s been reading it and making incredulous stunned noises.

What are you currently reading?

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WWW Wednesday

Posted 29 May, 2019 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.

This week’s is rather late in the day, and I know I’m lacking in posts this week as well. Having difficulty budgeting my time around being randomly massively cranky, and I know my blog posting and commenting and engaging with people sucks right now. I’m working on it!

Cover of The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth DickinsonWhat are you currently reading?

I’ve just started The Monster Baru Cormorant (Seth Dickinson) and I am so not ready for this. From the very first chapter it jumps back into the awful final point of the last book and goes on right from there, losing no momentum or impact. Gaaah.

I’m also most of the way through The True Queen (Zen Cho), which… I’m silly and never actually looked stuff up, so I was caught by surprise by the awesome queerness! And ahh I love Damerell and Rollo.

Cover of A Natural History of Dragons by Marie BrennanWhat have you recently finished reading?

I spent yesterday rereading A Natural History of Dragons (Marie Brennan), which I still adore, and then after that I settled down to finish my reread of The Traitor Baru Cormorant, which is still amazing but still absolutely exhausting and shattering to read. And gah, all those wheels within wheels of plotting.

Cover of Middle-Game by Seanan McGuireWhat will you be reading next?

I’m trying to finish up my Wyrd and Wonder reading list, though I don’t think I’ll finish all the books on it by the end of May. Still, remaining and not mentioned here already are Middlegame (Seanan McGuire), Fire Logic (Laurie J. Marks) and Spinning Silver (Naomi Novik), all of which are actually in progress at the moment. So I’m not far off, either!

What are you reading?

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