Tag: Tanya Huff

What are you reading Wednesday

Posted September 25, 2014 by in General / 0 Comments

What have you recently finished reading?
FF: Fantastic Faux, by Matt Fraction. Which is heavily linked to the Fantastic Four title in the Marvel Now lineup, which I haven’t read, so made very little sense. On the other hand, Fraction deals very deftly with a transgendered character, making it so normal and the transition so well done that it barely registers as a big issue at all.

And you’ve gotta love the line “All of you pale before our hetero-normative cisgendered classification of family!”

What are you currently reading?
The Fellowship of the Ring. Oh, Tolkien. Oh, Frodo.

The Enchantment Emporium (Tanya Huff). Can’t remember if I mentioned this last week, but so far it’s very fun. I do have to switch my brain onto the Mary Stewart/Georgette Heyer cousin-marrying-is-okay frequency, but I do have that frequency, so that works. Casually queer, all kinds of family stuff, interesting magic.

What will you read next?
Well, Tolkien aside, I’m gonna dig back into We Are Here (Michael Marshall Smith) and Tomorrow and Tomorrow (Thomas Sweterlitsch), since I’m halfway through both and certainly owe a review for the latter.

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Reading Habits

Posted September 22, 2014 by in General / 1 Comment

I’m not sure where I picked this up from, but it seemed like fun, and touched on some stuff I’ve never thought to mention before. So, another meme!

(1) Do you have a certain place for reading at home?
Mostly, I flop down on my bed for it when I’m with my grandmother. I used to have all sorts of hidey-holes where I’d go to read, but I’m bigger now and can’t fit into them so well, or Grandma’s filled them with boxes or junk or something. When I’m at home, I generally read at my desk with my feet on something, or up in my bunk bed. If I’m feeling particularly bleh, I make myself a blanket fort by hanging blankets down the sides of my bunk bed and curling up on the sofa underneath.

(2) Do you use a bookmark or a random piece of paper?
Mostly bookmarks. A random piece of paper may happen if I can’t find one, but I don’t really have a good excuse for that since I have a pile of about fifty bookmarks. Wherever I go, I try and pick up some bookmarks if they’ve got any free or cheap ones. I have some very nice ones from the Bodleian library shop.

(3) Can you just stop reading or does it need to be at the end of a chapter or a certain number of pages?
I have rules about this shit. It always has to be at the end of a page or, if the paragraph goes onto the next page, the end of that paragraph. I much prefer to stop at paragraph breaks or, even better, the end of even-numbered chapters. I remember when I was a kid, I didn’t like finishing at even the end of a chapter if the last sentence was dialogue.

(4) Do you eat or drink while reading?
Yep. Snacks, water, pop — it sometimes depends, though. If I’m reading something by a writer who is really good with the sound of words, I don’t eat/drink while reading so that I can whisper the words along. I’m a synaesthete, so the words have a ‘taste’, and for writers like Tolkien, Le Guin or Richard Fortey, that’s a part of the experience I wouldn’t want to miss. I don’t eat at mealtimes; Dad trained me firmly out of that.

(5) Do you read one book at a time or several at once?
Many, many at once. I shouldn’t, in that I inevitably end up neglecting something, but I like to have different things on the go for different moods and situations. I don’t read stuff by the fine prose writers in public, because I’m embarrassed about the fact that I want to whisper them. But seriously, ‘swept’ and ‘stepped’ and ‘crept’, or pretty much anything Tolkien ever wrote, they have such a satisfying mouth-feel and taste: I don’t really get why other people find that concept so strange.

(6) Do you read out loud or silently in your head?
Oh, I didn’t notice this question in advance! Silently, mostly, but with fine prose, in a whisper. I don’t like reading aloud to someone else, though. That’s when I start stammering and tripping over the words, which is not fun for anyone involved.

(7) Do you ever read ahead or skip pages?
I don’t mind spoilers, so yes, sometimes I do. Especially in comics, I find. I flick through the book, stop at a pretty page, and end up reading quite a bit to try and figure out what’s going on. Whoops. Obviously, I don’t end up doing this with ebooks, because it’s much harder to skip ahead. And I would never, ever skip the section with Tom Bombadil, and I don’t care what everyone has to say about that.

(8) Breaking the spine or keeping it new?
Keeping it new. And therefore not lending it to my mother.

(9) Do you write in your books?
Neveeeer.

(10) What are you currently reading?
Oh, cripes. The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, primarily. And also We Are Here by Michael Marshall Smith. And… and… it’s a long list, let’s just leave it at that.

Tagging: 
As usual, whoever wants to!

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted August 19, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish is ‘top ten books everyone’s telling me to read’. Which really isn’t hard, because everybody’s always on at me to read something, heh.

  1. Republic of Thieves, Scott Lynch. I love Scott Lynch’s first two books, and I actually got this one back when it was an ARC. I’m just terrible. I’ve bought it since and still… Mum and my partner both reaaaally want me to get on with it.
  2. The Vorkosigan Saga, Lois McMaster Bujold. Again, so many people want me to read these. I’ve actually read Cordelia’s Honor, and I wasn’t that impressed? But I was also cranky and feeling a bit harassed. If nothing else, Jo Walton’s recommendations mean I should really get on with it…
  3. Throne of Glass, Sarah J. Maas. I read the prequel short stories way back before the first book was out, and wasn’t really interested enough to read more. But I hear so much about the trilogy, and Leah was urging me to read it, so.
  4. Pantomime, Laura Lam. I’m going to read this reaaaally soon, or that’s the plan at least. It’s the only book I can think of, other than arguably The Left Hand of Darkness, with an intersexed protagonist.
  5. The Enchantment Emporium, Tanya Huff. This has been recced me a couple of times, and it’s the book I happened to pick up for Tanya Huff to sign for me at Worldcon, so there y’go.
  6. A Song of Ice and Fire, G.R.R. Martin. My first rec for this came from Robin Hobb when I was about fourteen, and I still haven’t got round to it — and the recs are mounting up. It’s actually one of the books in a reading challenge I’m doing, so I’ll get round to it soon.
  7. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making, Catherynne M. Valente. I’ve been meaning to read it since it came out, and now there’s a whole trilogy. Also in my challenge list.
  8. Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell. I’ve read part of it. I have the special edition, signed. I’ve read Attachments and Eleanor & Park. And yet. I’ll get there eventually. Sorry, Leah, and everyone.
  9. Yendi, Steven Brust. I read the first book of the series at Jo’s recommendation, promptly bought a whole bunch of the omnibuses, and then… got distracted by so
  10. The Healer trilogy, Maria V. Snyder. I like Snyder’s work as a casual fun read, and my sister will kick me if I don’t hurry up and read these. And probably many other books too; she likes kicking me.

What’s on everyone else’s lists?

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted July 29, 2014 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is “how many books do you own the most from”. I’m gonna be totally unscientific here and just take some wild guesses.

  1. Jo Walton. I own all her books, often in several formats. I think this one’s a safe bet.
  2. Ngaio Marsh. I have all those omnibuses. Omnibii?
  3. Robin Hobb. I’ve been reading everything she writes since I was, uh, thirteen ish?
  4. Guy Gavriel Kay. Again with the multiple formats.
  5. Ursula Le Guin. I don’t own everything she’s done, and I don’t usually have multiple copies, but I think she might still outnumber eveeeryone else. She’s just so good, I’m willing to try anything she’s done.
  6. Steven Brust. This is Jo Walton’s fault. I haven’t even read most of them yet.
  7. Tanya Huff. This is a guess, but I’m pretty sure I’m right. I’ve bought most of her books, though I haven’t read them all yet.
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien. Everything bar the twelve volume history of Middle-earth, I think. Multiple editions.
  9. The Gawain-poet. Whoever he (or she?) was. I own so many translations — probably at least nine?
  10. The Beowulf-poet. I’m not quite as big a fan as I am of the Gawain-poet, but still. I’ve got a facing translation one, Heaney’s, Tolkien’s… the list goes on.

So, what about everyone else? Strangely, Dorothy L. Sayers does not make the cut, because I borrowed my copies to read.

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Throwback Thursday

Posted June 19, 2014 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

As with the last couple of weeks, I’m using Throwback Thursday (hosted here) to highlight some books that’ve been knocking round on my to read shelves for a while (aka, too long). This week, I actually have a theme: vampires! Don’t ask me why I always pick three. Probably something OCD related. Or I just like the alliteration with Throwback Thursday.

CCover of Carpathia, by Matt Forbeckarpathia, Matt Forbeck

It’s Titanic meets 30 Days of Night. When the survivors of the Titanic are picked up by the passenger steamship Carpathia, they thought their problems were over.

But something’s sleeping in the darkest recesses of the ship. Something old. Something hungry.

I’ve had this since I visited Angry Robot HQ, so it’s high time I got round to it. I’ve enjoyed some of Matt Forbeck’s other work for them, so I’m hopeful about this, though some of the GR reviews aren’t so positive. Fingers crossed!

Blood Price, Tanya Huff

Vicki Nelson, formerly of Toronto’s homicide unit and now a private detective, witnesses the first of many vicious attacks that are now plaguing the city of Toronto. As death follows unspeakable Cover of Blood Price, by Tanya Huffdeath, Vicki is forced to renew her tempestuous relationship with her former partner, Mike Celluci, to stop these forces of dark magic—along with another, unexpected ally…

Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of King Henry VIII, has learned over the course of his long life how to blend with humans, how to deny the call for blood in his veins. Without him, Vicki and Mike would not survive the ancient force of chaos that has been unleashed upon the world—but in doing so, his identity may be exposed, and his life forfeit.

I’ve actually read this one already, many moons ago, but I have the whole set to get round to; I only read this first one. Trivia: Vicki Nelson has retinitis pigmentosa, a common reason people come to the eye clinic I volunteer at. (Is this where I throw in a PSA about getting your eyes checked regularly? Because you should. There’s lots we can do if we only catch the problem early.)

Anyway, I like Tanya Huff in general. She has a handful of queer characters, and her writing’s always fun.

The Passage, Justin Cronin

Cover of The Passage by Justin CroninAn epic and gripping tale of catastrophe and survival, The Passage is the story of Amy—abandoned by her mother at the age of six, pursued and then imprisoned by the shadowy figures behind a government experiment of apocalyptic proportions. But Special Agent Brad Wolgast, the lawman sent to track her down, is disarmed by the curiously quiet girl and risks everything to save her. As the experiment goes nightmarishly wrong, Wolgast secures her escape—but he can’t stop society’s collapse. And as Amy walks alone, across miles and decades, into a future dark with violence and despair, she is filled with the mysterious and terrifying knowledge that only she has the power to save the ruined world.

I know I’m way behind the curve on this one, but a friend just posted an enthusiastic review, so I’m bringing it back up the list.

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Top Ten Tuesday

Posted May 28, 2014 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

It’s apparently a freebie week for Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. I saw someone else talk about the top ten books/series they want to get round to rereading if they have time, which sounds like a good idea. I’m a chronic rereader, with some favourites I never get tired of, but I feel guilty doing it because I have so much I should be reading already!

  1. Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings series. I’m actually trying to work on rereading this, since I have the new one as an ARC, but there’s so many books out there, it’s hard to find the time. I remember being utterly enchanted back when I first read the books, though, so I hope the shine hasn’t worn off.
  2. Tanya Huff’s The Fire’s Stone. I just recall finding this one really fun, and enjoying the romance plot.
  3. Cherie Priest’s Cheshire Red books. I love these. I have them to reread, it’s just getting round to it. Adrian is the most badass ex-navy SEAL drag queen you could wish for, and I love the unconventional family Raylene builds up around herself.
  4. Jacqueline Carey’s Kushiel series. I ate these up the first and second time, but it’s been a while now. I’m looking at the new, cheap editions as ebooks and thinking it might be about time. I’m not a big fan of Imriel’s series, but I adore Phèdre and Joscelin, and the politics of it all. “I’ll be damned in full and not by halves” is one of the more memorable quotes in any book I’ve read.
  5. Jo Walton’s Sulien books. Plus A Prize in the Game, which isn’t strictly about Sulien. Asexual protagonist who is a kickass woman in the Arthurian world, what’s not to love? Plus interesting relationships with the people around her. I remember this really fondly.
  6. Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. There’s something about Sunshine and the unrelated Chalice that pull me back again and again. It’s the characters, I think, the way people interact, the way magic works. And the focus on homely things as well, like Sunshine baking and the heroine of Chalice keeping bees.
  7. Guy Gavriel Kay, The Lions of Al-Rassan. Well, actually all of his books (I’m revisiting them in publication order, to watch the development of his style), but especially Lions because I think that’s the only one apart from Under Heaven and the latest that I haven’t read at least twice, and I invariably appreciate GGK’s work more on the second go.
  8. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings. This is more or less a permanent state of being for me. Having studied the books, I can see so many more layers and bits of interest than I ever did before. It’s also interesting because I’m exploring the world via a different medium, in Lord of the Rings Online, which no doubt will make me pay attention to different details.
  9. Joe Abercrombie’s First Law trilogy. I have the ebooks, all ready for a reread, it’s just getting round to it. I remember enjoying these books a lot, and my partner’s just recently read them and feels the same, so I have high hopes.
  10. Bernard Cornwell’s Warlord Chronicles. I loved Cornwell’s take on Arthur and his men, and this is another case where I’ve bought e-copies for my collection and for an excuse to reread, and… am taking forever to get round to it. Well, hopefully not forever.

So, what interesting top tens are you seeing around, people? Any you’d like to see me do?

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What are you reading… Thursday?

Posted December 26, 2013 by Nikki in General / 0 Comments

Whoops! Yesterday being Christmas Day, it didn’t “feel” like a Wednesday… Though I doubt anyone missed it.

What did you recently finish reading?
He Said, Sidhe Said by Tanya Huff, which I’ve reviewed already. Before that, I’ve been working on my reread of Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising; I’m up to The Grey King.

What are you currently reading?
Silver on the Tree by Susan Cooper is the first book open on my ereader. The second one is I Am Half-Sick of Shadows, by Alan Bradley; I’ll probably finish both of those tonight.

What do you think you’ll read next?
Well, I’m still working on the epic unfinished list. I think either my next ones will be the rest of the Flavia de Luce books, including the ARC I have of The Dead in their Vaulted Arches, or I might take a break from Flavia and work on some of the books that aren’t in a series. Christopher Morley’s The Haunted Bookshop, maybe, or Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Djinni. I’m not sure yet. All my new Christmas books are very, very tempting… *snatches hands away from one of the genetics ones*

Books acquired:
Many, many and varied. See this post

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Review – He Said, Sidhe Said

Posted December 26, 2013 by Nikki in Reviews / 3 Comments

Cover of He Said, Sidhe Said, by Tanya HuffHe Said, Sidhe Said, by Tanya Huff

As usual, Tanya Huff’s stories collected in this ebook are fun; it’s a solid mix of fun and a more serious story. The title story (a sort of retelling of Tam Lin) was probably my least favourite. Since it’s a shortish collection (seven stories), I’ll review each story separately, albeit briefly.

‘A Choice of Endings’: I didn’t remember the character of Mrs. Ruth very well — I read Gate of Darkness, Circle of Light quite a while ago — but I enjoyed the story nonetheless. It’s always interesting when older women are the heroines of a story, you really don’t see it enough, and it was good to get into Mrs. Ruth’s head. And her antics are quite entertaining: she’s deadly with bottles of Tabasco sauce…

‘Finding Marcus’: One of Tanya Huff’s few first person stories, apparently, and narrated from the point of view of a dog — and she’s a cat person. I think she got the essential traits of a dog pretty well: that literally dogged loyalty and persistence which I think is one of the most lovely traits of a good dog. (I’m biased. My nan’s dog, in my childhood, was very dogged and loyal, and heaved his arthritis, tubby body up a step and along the hall to check on me while I curled up on my own in the front room, reading.) The story was pretty simple, but it worked well, even for being something Tanya Huff doesn’t do much.

‘He Said, Sidhe Said’: As I said, my least favourite of the collection. I just didn’t find it very remarkable. The various parallels to Tam Lin are clever, but it wasn’t absorbing for me.

‘I’ll Be Home For Christmas’: I have a fairly ‘meh’ reaction to this one, too, for all that its seasonal. Or perhaps because it’s seasonal? I’m not good with seasonal. There’s only one Christmas-themed album I like, in music (Thea Gilmore’s Strange Communion), so maybe I’m the same about stories. It just didn’t grab me, anyway.

‘Tuesday Evenings, Six Thirty to Seven’: I liked this one. Again an older female heroine, and a very non-conventional Brownie troop. I thought that was kind of clever, and I enjoyed the Brown Owl’s attempts to adapt to them and to do her best by them. It was filled with a kind of tenderness toward the whole Brownie movement, too, which I can understand — I never was a Brownie, but I so wanted to be.

‘Under Summons’: I haven’t read Summon the Keeper yet, though I have it, but this story made perfect sense even without it. Loved the pissy cat and the helpful fish. It makes me want to hurry up and read the original series.

‘Word of Honour’: I’m not sure about the quality of the history detail around the events in this story, and the portrayal of the Templars, etc (my knowledge about Templars, such as it is, comes mostly from Assassin’s Creed). I didn’t find the story as emotional as Tanya Huff mentions she does in her introduction, but it is an enjoyable story and there are a couple of moments in it that did really get to me.

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