WWW Wednesday

Posted March 27, 2024 by Nicky in General / 0 Comments

It’s time for WWW Wednesday again. That’s:

  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What will you read next?

Cover of Across a Field of Starlight by Blue DelliquantiWhat have you recently finished reading?

The last thing I finished was Across a Field of Starlight, by Blue Delliquanti, which I talked about a bit last week. I need to put my thoughts together in order to write a review, but I very much enjoyed the diverse body types represented.

Before that, I finished Ghosts in the Hedgerow, by Tom Moorehouse. It’s a look at why hedgehog populations are declining in Britain, written in the format of a whodunnit. As with many whodunnits, the answers weren’t too surprising to me — but it’s a fun format and has lots of information to help those who don’t already know much about hedgehogs.

Cover of The Corpse in the Waxworks by John Dickson CarrWhat are you currently reading?

I’ve dug into John Dickson Carr’s The Corpse in the Waxworks. It’s from the earlier period of his career and features one of his detectives I don’t enjoy much, but it can’t be denied he had a good sense of atmosphere. I’m not hating it, anyway, which has been the case with some of Carr’s work (even though I came to enjoy his work starring Gideon Fell as the detective).

I’m also reading Exposed: The Greek and Roman Body, by Caroline Vout. I’ve been curious about this one for a while… though I haven’t really got far with it yet.

Cover of Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma TörzsWhat will you read next?

I’m planning to focus on finishing books I’m partway through, like Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe, by Emma Törzs. I’m partway through that one, but it’s sat neglected beside my desk for a couple of weeks now, while I was more in the mood for non-fiction. Once I start a new book… I’m not sure what it’ll be.

How about you?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Reading Memories

Posted March 26, 2024 by Nicky in General / 4 Comments

Greetings all! This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme didn’t speak to me, as I don’t watch a lot of movies at all. Instead, I’m going to talk about ten bookish memories. I remember a lot of events by the books I was reading at the time, and it’s interesting to think about all the times books have left an impression on me.

Cover of The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien Cover of The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula Le Guin Cover of American Gods by Neil Gaiman

  1. Five On A Treasure Island, by Enid Blyton. When I was a kid, I loved Enid Blyton’s books, and the Famous Five were among my favourites. I had a habit when I was a kid of reading in weird places: stairways were a common choice, and I remember sitting on my parents’ stairs reading. For each chapter I finished, I’d move down a step. Once I reached the bottom, it was probably time for lunch or a snack or something. I remember curling up by the front door during one of those days, probably watching out for Mum coming home, while eating slices of apple and cheese on crackers. I used to be quite happy doing that for hours.
  2. The Positronic Man, by Isaac Asimov. A lot of people have read the short story this was based on, ‘The Bicentennial Man’, but it was also made into a novel (I think with Robert Silverberg as a co-author, maybe). After I learned to read, I swiftly graduated to being able to read adult fiction, and this had my mum ferreting around the library looking for books she remembered that might be suitable. Asimov was a major component of that, in part because the library actually had a bunch of his books, and The Positronic Man was a huge hit with me. So much so that I read and reread it, and refused to return it to the library for ages. I have no idea how bad the fine was when I finally parted with it, but I’m still not sorry. My wife later bought me a copy (sometime before we were married, not sure exactly when), and I loved it again then… though I must admit I’ve no idea where my copy is now.
  3. Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë. Another major habit of mine was finding small spaces to hide in and read. I had a bunk bed with a sofa underneath, which made it easy: if I hung a blanket down from the bed, I got a warm enclosed space underneath (with a reading light; thanks Dad!). I remember reading Jane Eyre for the first time there: I don’t think I finished it back then (I was probably a bit too young for it), but I felt quite the kinship with Jane hidden behind her curtains!
  4. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien. I’m not sure exactly when my grandparents turned their airing cupboard into a little shower room, but when they did, they created a little haven of a hiding place for me. I have no idea why I loved jamming myself in there (including in the shower cubicle) to read, but probably it mostly kept me out of my sister’s sight and thus out of her mind, making it an excellent spot to hide and read. I had my own copy of The Lord of the Rings, but I remember borrowing my grandmother’s for a reread when I stayed with them. Also, I remember an epic argument between myself and my grandmother about the BBC radio adaptation, which she had on cassette tape, one of which I temporarily mislaid. She was furious with me. I was furious with her for being so cross about a mistake I’d apologised for (and which turned out to have an easy answer that we should both have thought of: the tape was in the player). She was probably more in the right, though. Sorry, Grandma!
  5. The Tombs of Atuan, by Ursula Le Guin. I don’t know whether my mum suggested my aunt buy me what was then a quartet (which is what I suspect is most likely), or if my aunt was unusually inspired in her choice of Christmas present for once. I read this one sitting on my grandparents’ stairs, which had gaps between each step, through which I would insert my legs and dangle them. The living room door was never closed, so I could hear the adults pretty close by, but their conversations didn’t interrupt my reading. Those first experiences of Earthsea were pretty magical.
  6. American Gods, by Neil Gaiman. I read this one during the trip me and my mother took to look around Cambridge University and the University of East Anglia, to decide where I’d apply for university. One thing I remember about American Gods particularly is that I have very strong sense-memories of food around this book, and of sitting in a hotel room reading it. Because I am synaesthetic, I suspect the taste-memories have nothing to do with anything we ate. Anyway, I didn’t like Cambridge (at all). Sorry, Mum. I assume I’ve made it up to you by now with my achievements various.
  7. The Stand, by Stephen King. I was still living with my parents when I read this, and my then-girlfriend (now wife) nudged me to do so. I’d always felt a bit unsure about reading Stephen King — both because horror wasn’t my thing and because I was a terrible snob. The Stand enthralled me, though, and I kept putting off bedtime by half an hour, then another half an hour, then half an hour more… I later read a big chunk of his oeuvre, much of it sourced for me by my grandfather, whose idea of being supportive when I went to university was in large part helping me comb book sales and charity shops for plenty of reading material that fit my budget. Mysteriously, a lot of the time he paid for it anyway. Mostly, I think he was just thrilled that I’d chosen to go to university so nearby, and made any excuse to see a little more of me. I’m glad he did.
  8. Troublemaker, by Joseph Hansen. All of the Brandstetter books are potent reminders of my time at university. One of my housemates read them for her dissertation, and I remember I read quite a few of them all during a single day, during one of the 24 hour readathons. I keep meaning to do a reread, in part for nostalgia’s sake, and in part because I remember the books being good!
  9. Feed, by Mira Grant. When I had summers off from university, I often spent a chunk of time visiting my then-girlfriend (yes, the same one who is now my wife) in Belgium. One summer it was horribly hot, all the time, and I remember just lying on the (tiny, single) bed during the day being far too hot, with our rabbit jumping on me every so often, and wishing it would cool down. I remember giving Feed only two or three stars back then, but it stuck with me, and I’ve read it several times since. It’s one of those that grew on me, beyond all expectation.
  10. I Capture the Castle, by Dodie Smith. I never have written anything while sitting in a kitchen sink, but I Capture the Castle features in a bunch of memories. My last readthrough happened when my grandfather got ill, though, and after his cancer diagnosis (and his passing), it sat half-read on my bedside table for some months before I picked it up again, and found the familiar words comforting. I don’t know if I could read it again now, even though I can quote large sections from it still. Only the margin left to write on now. I love you, I love you, I love you.

Cover of Troublemaker by Joseph Hansen Cover of Feed by Mira Grant Cover of I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Writing this I came up with a bunch of others — like reading Dorothy L. Sayers’ Whose Body during a holiday, in what must’ve been my second or third year of university: I was doing a course on crime fiction, so Mum promptly loaded me up with the classics. She later used either the Peter Wimsey radioplays or an audiobook read by Ian Carmichael (who played Peter in the radioplays and one of the TV adaptations) to calm me down from an epic panic attack as I woke up from an operation. I have no idea which one she played to me, I just remember the tone of Ian Carmichael’s voice…

But ten and a bonus are quite enough. Despite my departure from the theme, I hope folks find my effort this week interesting! Do you have any strong memories around books?

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Review – Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

Posted March 25, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 3 Comments

Review – Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands

by Heather Fawcett

Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 337
Series: Emily Wilde #2
Rating: four-stars
Synopsis:

When mysterious faeries from other realms appear at her university, curmudgeonly professor Emily Wilde must uncover their secrets before it’s too late, in this heartwarming, enchanting second installment of the Emily Wilde series.

Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore who just wrote the world’s first comprehensive encyclopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Ones on her adventures . . . and also from her infuriatingly charming fellow scholar Wendell Bambleby.

Because Bambleby is more than brilliant and unbearably handsome. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother and in search of a door back to his realm. And despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of marriage: Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and dangers.

She also has a new project to focus on: a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by his mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambleby’s realm and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.

But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors and of her own heart.

After finishing the first book in this series, I was eager to grab Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands, by Heather Fawcett. I still dispute that it can be considered “cosy”, but it was a really fun read and one which my brain needed at the time. It still bears comparison with the Isabella Trent books by Marie Brennan, but mostly because the two women are both scholars and have some similarities in that. Emily Wilde is very much her own woman, even if she shares Isabella’s “deranged practicality”, and Wendell too is a delight, as are the glimpses of the Fae world — capricious, illogical and often vicious as it is.

The story features a new location, of course, taking them far from Cambridge once more to encounter new faerie. Two new major players join the cast as well: Farris Rose, another scholar (who isn’t on great terms with either of them), and Ariadne, who is Emily’s niece. That adds some interesting new tensions, now that Wendell and Emily’s relationship has firmed up a bit and become less adversarial. And of course, I continue to really enjoy Emily’s fascination with the Fae, and her willingness to do hare-brained things in the pursuit of knowledge — and ultimately, now, for Wendell.

Sometimes the journal format breaks down a little bit as a narrative method, but it is managed very gamely for the most part. I particularly liked that it snuck a little surprise on us through Emily’s fragmented, troubled memories while she’s in the court.

…More, please?

Rating: 4/5

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Review – Britannia, vol 1

Posted March 24, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Britannia, vol 1

Britannia

by Peter Milligan, Juan José Ryp, Jordie Bellaire

Genres: Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Pages: 112
Series: Britannia #1
Rating: one-star
Synopsis:

On the fringes of civilization, the world's first detective is about to make an unholy discovery...

Ruled by the Fates. Manipulated by the Gods. Commanded by Caesar. In the year 65 A.D., one's destiny was not his own. At the height of Nero's reign, a veteran of Rome's imperial war machine has been dispatched to the farthest reaches of the colonies to investigate unnatural happenings... In the remote outpost of Britannia, Antonius Axia – the First Detective – will become Rome's only hope to reassert control over the empire's most barbaric frontier... and keep the monsters that bridge the line between myth and mystery at bay...

I’m not entirely sure what to make of some of the very positive reviews of Britannia. I really didn’t get along with it, but I guess it’s a matter of taste. Personally, I found that it was very heavy on male-gazey stuff (did we really need to see multiple terrified naked or near-naked women? methinks someone’s kink is on show), and while the art tells the story well, it wasn’t a style I really enjoyed, and sometimes I had trouble telling the characters apart.

As far as the plot goes… well. I’m very eyebrow-raise-y about the concept of the Vestal Virgins having a special codex that mostly teaches you how to be Sherlock Holmes (but has maybe a few magical effects as well? hard to tell how seriously to take those screens and whether there’s some metaphors going on there). Referring to Antonius as the “detectioner” just… cringe. I cringed deep in my soul.

And it didn’t feel totally coherent, to be honest. What is Orkus exactly? How are the different manifestations related? Obviously these are questions that might well be answered in later volumes, but I just wasn’t sure of the ground we’re starting from.

Overall, there are some bits here that could’ve been intriguing, but in the end, not for me. I won’t continue reading the series.

Rating: 1/5

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Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post

Posted March 23, 2024 by Nicky in General / 12 Comments

Yay, weekend!

I’m still struggling to get to grips with my essays etc, but I have finished full drafts of all three. One might need a total rewrite, but two are pretty much good to go, which is a relief. I did spend a book voucher to celebrate, but the books haven’t arrived and been unboxed yet, so I’ll show those off next week.

As per usual, I’m linking up with Reading Reality’s Stacking the Shelves, Caffeinated Reviewer’s The Sunday Post, and the Sunday Salon over at Readerbuzz.

Books acquired this week:

This week I got a gift from a friend, which I’d added to my TBR lately thanks to a really nasty review. Sometimes those do some good, ha.

Cover of Across a Field of Starlight by Blue Delliquanti

And a review copy that has a pretty cover, via Tor:

Cover of Swordcrossed by Freya Marske

I really enjoyed one of Freya Marske’s other books, though I haven’t finished reading that trilogy yet. So I’m excited for this one. Some Swordspoint vibes, unavoidably, but that’s a good thing.

Posts from this week:

As usual, here’s the roundup of what I’ve been posting! Reviews first.

And the other posts:

What I’m reading:

At the moment I seem to be going ham on the weekends and then it’s a bit quieter during the week. I’m okay with that! Here are the books I finished this week which I intend to review on the blog:

Cover of Big Ben Strikes Eleven by David Magarshack Cover of Wine by Meg Bernhard Cover of Navigational Entanglements by Aliette de Bodard

Cover of A Telegram from Le Touquet by John Bude Cover of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Bettany Hughes Cover of Nick & Charlie by Alice Oseman

Over the weekend I have a lot of lovely-sounding plans to read various books and spend hoouuuurs reading. We’ll see how that shakes out — as always, the most important thing is getting a restful, restorative weekend, and reading whatever I feel like.

How’s everyone doing?

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Review – The Walnut Tree

Posted March 22, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – The Walnut Tree

The Walnut Tree - Women, Violence and the Law: A Hidden History

by Kate Morgan

Genres: History, Non-fiction
Pages: 319
Rating: five-stars
Synopsis:

'A woman, a dog and a walnut tree, the more they are beaten, the better they'll be.'

So went the proverb quoted by a prominent MP in the Houses of Parliament in 1853. His words - intended ironically in a debate about a rise in attacks on women - summed up the prevailing attitude of the day, in which violence against women was waved away as a part and parcel of modern living - a chilling seam of misogyny that had polluted both parliament and the law. But were things about to change?

In this vivid and essential work of historical non-fiction, Kate Morgan explores the legal campaigns, test cases and individual injustices of the Victorian and Edwardian eras which fundamentally re-shaped the status of women under British law. These are seen through the untold stories of women whose cases became cornerstones of our modern legal system and shine a light on the historical inequalities of the law.

We hear of the uniquely abusive marriage which culminated in the dramatic story of the 'Clitheroe wife abduction'; of the domestic tragedies which changed the law on domestic violence; the controversies surrounding the Contagious Diseases Act and the women who campaigned to abolish it; and the real courtroom stories behind notorious murder cases such as the 'Camden Town Murder'.

Exploring the 19th- and early 20th Century legal history that influenced the modern-day stances on issues such as domestic abuse, sexual violence and divorce, The Walnut Treelifts the lid on the shocking history of women under British law - and what it means for women today.

Having loved Kate Morgan’s book on the laws surrounding murder, I was prepared to quite enjoy The Walnut Tree — though, being a history of the rights of women through discussing the laws and legal cases that shaped them, it was bound to be pretty grim in some ways. And of course it was: it’s not easy (and nor should it be) to read about the way men used to be allowed to abuse women and deprive them of liberty, and how women were faulted for all kinds of things in order that people shouldn’t have to convict the men in their lives of anything.

Still, Morgan tells the story through well-chosen cases that illustrate a lot of the anxieties and questions in people’s minds at the time, and she manages to bring it all to life in a way that I (at least) find very readable and enjoyable. She has a knack for settings things out clearly and engagingly, and I enjoy this tactic of taking a legal-eye view of things.

That said, of course (as I mentioned), it does discuss some horrible cases and some very unfortunate women — abused, kidnapped, assaulted, and murdered. It’s saddening and infuriating, and sometimes it’s worse to think about the fact that some of these excuses and attitudes can still be found today. “She was asking for it”, “it was a crime of passion”, “she owed me”…

Not a comfortable read, but one that I found fascinating.

Rating: 5/5

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Review – Big Ben Strikes Eleven

Posted March 21, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 0 Comments

Review – Big Ben Strikes Eleven

Big Ben Strikes Eleven

by David Magarshack

Genres: Crime, Mystery
Pages: 333
Series: British Library Crime Classics
Rating: two-stars
Synopsis:

The discovery of Sir Robert Boniface’s body on the floor of his blue limousine was made quite accidentally on a sultry Friday evening towards the end of June.

The industrial and financial tycoon, and former stalwart of the British Cabinet, had been shot in the head and left in the quiet Vale of Health alongside London’s Hampstead Heath. Nearby, a rejected portrait of Sir Robert is found riddled with bullets in the studio of the now- missing romantic artist Matt Caldwell. As it hurtles towards its feverish denouement under the bells of the capital’s most famous clock, this closely observed and stylish study of both character and motive transports the reader from the Stock Exchange to Scotland Yard. It asks the question of what it means to be crooked and how immense power corrupts.

I found David Magarshack’s Big Ben Strikes Eleven a bit disappointing vs the way it was described (as being for grownups, and apparently earning Dorothy L. Sayers’ praise). It sounded like it was maybe going to be a bit more literary, but it felt fairly by-the-numbers police procedural ish, with each clue and hint dragged out of the supporting cast.

It felt like the basic facts got recapitulated — along with needless baroque levels of speculation — every chapter or so, without getting much further forward, while there was a strangely laissez-faire attitude to getting the various witnesses to explain themselves. He won’t explain where he was? Oh well. She won’t give information because she says it’s a privacy thing? Fine, that’s fine. What?!

There are some interesting bits, like unpicking a certain alibi, though there’s a certain reliance on coincidence and a whole bizarre interlude with a love story that feels self-destructive and not at all appealing. Sure, one of the suspects is involved, but it added relatively little (just a slight potential explanation of a clue we already had), and just felt weird.

So… not what I hoped for, alas.

Rating: 2/5

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WWW Wednesday

Posted March 20, 2024 by Nicky in General / 2 Comments

It’s time for WWW Wednesday again. That’s:

  • What have you recently finished reading?
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What will you read next?

Cover of The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World by Bettany HughesWhat have you recently finished reading?

I finally finished up reading Bettany Hughes’ The Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I don’t know why the first 100 pages took me so long, and then just a couple of days for the last 200 pages, but here we are. Perhaps it was just getting into the right frame of mind for a slow and considered tour of the ancient world. I was quite surprised that Hughes linked basically all seven of the Wonders to Alexander the Great; I hadn’t thought about it that way before.

Fiction-wise, the last thing I finished was a review copy of Aliette de Bodard’s Navigational Entanglements, which I’m still thoughtfully chewing on. It reminded me a little bit of Yoon Ha Lee’s work (particularly Ninefox Gambit), which took me a while to fully appreciate.

Cover of Across a Field of Starlight by Blue DelliquantiWhat are you currently reading?

Too many books at once, as usual! But just today I started on Across a Field of Starlight, by Blue Delliquanti. I read a really horrible review of it quite recently by another blogger, but the things they hated about it were things that I’m interested in: both main characters are non-binary, for example, and there’s quite a range of gender expression on-page. That blogger complained that the art is ugly because of that, but I quite like it, and I love that it doesn’t feel bound to showing characters in a whole other time and place with the same gendered characteristics people have now. Markers of gender have been very different in different societies at different times, after all, let alone in an intergalactic civilisation.

I also started on Alice Oseman’s Nick and Charlie, a novella that fits into the Heartstopper world. I’m not sure how it’ll fit in with the last volume of Heartstopper, because it so far feels very continuous to Charlie’s feelings in volume 5…

Cover of The Eye of Osiris by R. Austin FreemanWhat will you read next?

I’m thinking of picking up R. Austin Freeman’s The Eye of Osiris, a classic mystery novel featuring the disappearance of an archaeologist. I don’t know what it is about archaeology (too much Time Team as a kid?) but it’s always a draw. I’d also like to focus on some of the books I’ve put on the backburner, though, like the ones I mentioned in my Top Ten Tuesday spring TBR.

As ever, though, mostly I’ll follow my whims.

How about you, readers? Anything amazing open on your ereader or propped up against your cereal box?

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Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Posted March 19, 2024 by Nicky in General / 14 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt is all about reading plans for the spring, which is always fun. I don’t really theme my reading with the seasons, or with anything beyond my own whim, and my approach to having a reading plan is a bit like Douglas Adams’ approach to deadlines (“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.”) — but I find it fun to set them up, all the same.

So what would a good spring reading list look like for me? I’d like to clear some of the partly-read books out of my list, so I’ll start with those.

Cover of The Tainted Cup by Robert Jackson Bennett Cover of Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, by Cat Bohannon Cover of Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs Cover of The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Rusti Cover of The Cleaving by Juliet E. McKenna

  1. The Tainted Cup, by Robert Jackson Bennett. I’ve made a start on this one! But then I got distracted and haven’t picked it up in a week. I’m really enthusiastic about the premise, though, so it’s time to dig in.
  2. Eve: How the Female Body Drove 200 Million Years of Human Evolution, by Cat Bohannon. I had this one as an ARC before it came out, so I really must get back to this one. I was finding it fascinating, just dense with information — and a bit overly blessed with footnotes, to be honest. It keeps fragmenting my attention and sending me bouncing around the page, and I didn’t have the focus for a bit. Soon I’ll hand my essays in, though, and then I hope to dig into it more.
  3. Ink, Blood, Sister, Scribe, by Emma Törzs. I’m at the point of being intrigued by this without being fully sucked in. Which is maybe worrying since I’m already 100 pages in. Still, I’m enthusiastic enough to finish it, and I’d like to prioritise that soon!
  4. The Book of Perilous Dishes, by Doina Ruști. I started on this soon after getting it, but it didn’t suit my mood at the time. I might need to start over to find my way back in, since I wasn’t very far into it, but we’ll see! I’m very curious to read more translated works in general, and I don’t think I’ve read anything by a Romanian author before, so I want to give it a proper shot and not just dislike it because I’m in a weird mood.
  5. The Cleaving, by Juliet E. McKenna. I’ve meant to read McKenna’s work for sooo long, and I did enjoy the first 50 pages of this… in fact, I’ve no idea why I got distracted from this one. Maybe just my bad habit of reading a gazillion books at once.

That’s not quite all the books I’m reading at once — for example, I’ve also been neglecting A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross for… too long. But let’s take a look at the new-to-me books I want to read and haven’t even dipped a toe into yet!

Cover of The Undetectables by Courtney Smyth Cover of The Three Dahlias by Katy Watson Cover of The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown Cover of Swordcrossed by Freya Marske Cover of The Husky and His White Cat Shizun by Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou

  1. The Undetectables, by Courtney Smyth. With a tagline like this, who could resist? “Be gay. Solve crimes. Take naps.” It looks like fun, and it’s a recent acquisition, so I want to strike while the iron is hot.
  2. The Three Dahlias, by Katy Watson. This book was chosen for my mum by Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, and is quite possibly up my street as well. It’s definitely worth a try.
  3. The Book of Doors, by Gareth Brown. This was a bit of an impulse purchase, and I know very little about it. It involves books, though, so that gives it a bit of a headstart in my book!
  4. Swordcrossed, by Freya Marske. I couldn’t resist requesting the eARC of this based on the description (and my previous enjoyment of Marske’s work, even if I haven’t read the whole trilogy yet). It sounds like such fun, and maybe I’ll even read it before it comes out this time if I start soon…
  5. The Husky and his White Cat Shizun, by Rou Bao Bu Chi Rou. Having read and loved The Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System (Mo Xiang Tong Xiu), I want to try out some other danmei! MXTX’s Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation is also on my list, but I’m curious to try other authors as well.

It was hard to narrow it down… and knowing me, I won’t read any of them. But it’s always fun to dream! Does anybody else have such trouble sticking to their intended reading lists?!

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Review – Lost in the Moment and Found

Posted March 18, 2024 by Nicky in Reviews / 1 Comment

Review – Lost in the Moment and Found

Lost in the Moment and Found

by Seanan McGuire

Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 208
Series: Wayward Children #8
Rating: four-stars
Synopsis:

Welcome to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go.

If you ever lost a sock, you’ll find it here.

If you ever wondered about favorite toy from childhood... it’s probably sitting on a shelf in the back.

And the headphones that you swore that this time you’d keep safe? You guessed it….

Antoinette has lost her father. Metaphorically. He’s not in the shop, and she’ll never see him again. But when Antsy finds herself lost (literally, this time), she finds that however many doors open for her, leaving the Shop for good might not be as simple as it sounds.

And stepping through those doors exacts a price.

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Picking up Seanan McGuire’s Lost in the Moment and Found, I wasn’t sure whether I’d love it. On paper, this series has so much that I love, but it goes some dark places at times, and the warning about the situation that Antsy ends up in made me wonder if this was going to be another one which cut too close to home.

For me, it wasn’t, but it’s worth knowing that Antsy ends up in a difficult situation where her step-father convinces her that her mother won’t believe her if she says anything against him, while making her feel deeply uncomfortable (and also involving an obvious threat of child sexual abuse). In addition, Antsy loses her father very young. So it’s important to know that going in, for some people; as McGuire’s initial note says, Antsy runs before the bad things really start happening, though.

There is a fair bit about that and the build-up to why Antsy runs away, and as such I suppose I’d be happy if the book spent a bit more time in the shop. It sounds like a fascinating world and I wanted Antsy to explore it a little more, and to explore some of the other worlds with her. Instead we turn to the price she’s paying for the joy — and as ever, it’s a harsh one.

Obviously, the end of the book tells us where the main plot thread that runs through the odd-numbered novellas is going next, or at least, that Antsy’s going to have something to do with it. Given that she brings a bit of fresh blood into the questing group, that could be interesting!

Rating: 4/5

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