Tag: weekly roundup

Weekly Roundup

Posted November 23, 2019 by Nikki in General / 2 Comments

Two weeks since the last roundup! What have I been doing? Working, mostly, and doing NaNoWriMo. I’m hoping in December I’ll get back into the swing of reading more… but if I don’t, that’s fine too. Here’s everything that’s been going on…

New books:

Cover of The Secret Chapter by Genevieve Cogman Cover of The Light Years by R.W.W. Greene Stormsong by C.L. Polk

Thanks to Angry Robot and Tor for the ARCs!

Books finished:

Cover of Quick Curtain by Alan Melville Cover of Akhenaten: Egypt's False Prophet by Nicholas Reeves Cover of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Cover of The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman Cover of A Mourning Wedding by Carola Dunn. Cover of The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

Reviews posted:

Heraclix and Pomp, by Forrest Aguirre. Not quite my cup of tea. 1/5 stars
Hekla’s Children, by James Brogden. I found this rather predictable and nasty, with one of those entitled male protagonists that bug me so much. Sure, that’s part of the point, but it doesn’t make it more enjoyable. 2/5 stars
Akhenaten: Egypt’s False Prophet, by Nicholas Reeves. Misleadingly still billed by the publishers as revolutionary for this 2019 reissue, when it was in fact written in 2005. Not updated. Rests on some very tenuous evidence and generally entirely skippable. 2/5 stars
The Invisible Library, by Genevieve Cogman. Remains one hell of a romp, and a book I recommend. 4/5 stars
Quick Curtain, by Alan Melville. Unfortunately, this is another one that was solidly not my thing. Comedic and incompetent crime detection story? Meh. 2/5 stars
The Reluctant Widow, by Georgette Heyer. Still enjoyable, but the male lead drove me a bit nuts on this reread. 4/5 stars

Other posts:

The Sparrow Readalong Week One: I need to catch up! Way behind now. But here were my thoughts on week one…

And that’s it! Here’s hoping things will be busier around here in the next couple of weeks. *blows away the cobwebs*

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Weekly Roundup

Posted November 9, 2019 by Nikki in General / 9 Comments

Welp, it’s been a quiet time on the blog since I’ve been doing plenty of work — and doing NaNoWriMo for the first time in years! Last weekend we went out on a trip to the lovely Portal Bookshop in York, which I thoroughly recommend, so I have a few new books! (Also some dead tree copies of beloved books I only had in ebook, but I won’t list those too. Still, have this lovely pic of Biscuit investigating my haul!)

Pic of a small brown bunny standing up against a pile of books

Books acquired:

Cover of Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk Cover of Murder on the Titania by Alex Acks Cover of Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Books read since the last roundup:

Cover of Women & Power: A Manifesto by Mary Beard Cover of Provenance by Ann Leckie Cover of Excellent Intentions by Richard Hull Cover of Murder at the Fitzwilliam by Jim Eldridge

Cover of Ivory Vikings by Nancy Marie Brown Cover of Lord Roworth's Reward by Carola Dunn Cover of It's All In Your Head by Suzanne O'Sullivan

Reviews posted since the last roundup:

Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie. This remains a great favourite of mine, and one I’m sure I’ll come back to again. 5/5 stars
Murder at the Fitzwilliam, by Jim Eldridge. Kind of meh, despite a promising setting. 2/5 stars
Excellent Intentions, by Richard Hull. Slightly odd format, interestingly carried out but a bit lacking in personality. 3/5 stars
Women & Power: A Manifesto, by Mary Beard. The first essay is very worth the read; the second a bit less sure ground. 4/5 stars
Lord Roworth’s Reward, by Carola Dunn. An unsurprising but sweet Regency romance. 4/5 stars
It’s All In Your Head, by Suzanne O’Sullivan. Interesting discussion of psychosomatic illness, but simplifies things rather through idealised cases, and the chapter on ME/CFS would make folks I know see red. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. This week’s update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Pain and hunger.‘ Can the sensation of hunger change how you perceive pain? Yep, there is good evidence that it can — in both directions.
NEAT science: ‘The biopsychosocial model of mental health.‘ A pet peeve and a cry for holistic care…

And whew, that’s everything. How’re you folks?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted October 26, 2019 by Nikki in Reviews / 6 Comments

Good morning, folks! The bunny hutch drama took some sorting out — it arrived, and we spent about three hours trying to push it into the flat, but we couldn’t manage it. Buuut we found a local moving company willing to help, and they shifted it in, and now it sits in our flat, minus only the trim on its roof! To gain an appreciation of how truly large it is (and how cute the buns are), here are some pics (click them to embiggen)…

That last pic is me standing on the floor, body mostly straight… I am 5ft4, or around 1.6m tall.

You see why it was a bit of an effort! In any case, a mostly quiet week for acquiring and reading books…

Acquired:

Cover of Gilded Cage by KJ Charles Cover of Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri

Read this week:

Cover of Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water by Vlyar Kaftan Cover of Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie Cover of Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie

Reviews posted this week:

Her Silhouette, Drawn in Water, by Vylar Kaftan. Less plotty and more character-focused than I expected; I found at least one of the twists rather… not so much predictable, in retrospect, as banal. Of course that was what happened. So it left me a little cold. 3/5 stars
Ancillary Justice, by Ann Leckie. A reread, and just as beloved as ever! I found myself focusing on Seivarden and how she is an utter problematic fave. 5/5 stars
Any Old Diamonds, by K.J. Charles. Lovely relationship between the characters, wrapped into a plot that’s both heart-wrenching and satisfying. 4/5 stars
Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie. Quieter than the first book, maybe; I think this had people thinking about second book syndrome, and yet to my mind it totally avoids that. Perceiving it as that is to sort of miss the point of Breq’s quiet one-step-forward-and-then-the-next passage through life. The point isn’t to shake the stars, it’s to stay alive and do what one can in one’s own orbit. 5/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual Wednesday post, including lesbian space pirates and Ann Leckie.

So that’s that. How’s everyone else been doing?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted October 19, 2019 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

This has been a slow reading week, and a week for getting those backlogged reviews out there! Only three books read this week, booo. I’m not even sure why, but there you go — sometimes it happens that way.

Acquired this week: 

Cover of The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal by K.J. Charles

Read this week:

Cover of Dreadful Company by Vivian Shaw Cover of Making Eden by David Beerling Cover of Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

Reviews posted this week:

The History of Life in 100 Fossils, by Paul D. Taylor and Aaron O’Dea. Not solely a coffee table book, but the details can be annoyingly focused on other unpictured specimens, or just not quite the thing I wanted to know. Still, lovely presentation. 4/5 stars
Making Eden: How Plants Transformed a Barren Planet, by David Beerling. I loved Beerling’s other book, The Emerald Planet, and bought this on the strength of his enthusiasm and clear communication in that book. I don’t know what was different here, but it just didn’t really work. It wasn’t uninteresting, but didn’t have the joy. 3/5 stars
Dreadful Company, by Vivian Shaw. A reread to get ready for the final book! Deeply enjoyable, as ever; Greta is an awesome character. 4/5 stars
The Gendered Brain, by Gina Rippon. I think there’s a lot of genuine value here, but I also had questions about the way Rippon seems to view sex as a genuine binary, when a scientist should know darn well it isn’t. 3/5 stars
The Border, by Diarmaid Ferriter. Darn near unreadable if you don’t already know the topic, in my opinion. 1/5 stars
Weekend at Thrackley, by Alan Melville. Somewhat less than cosy, but pretty enjoyable. A country house mystery, of a sort… 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual weekly update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Feeding bread to ducks FAQ.‘ There’s a thing going round on Twitter about how you should feed ducks bread because they’re starving without it. So I decided to explain 1) why bread is bad, 2) why bread can be fine in moderation and 3) several other options to try feeding ducks that would be more healthy. Please feel free to share it…

So that’s that. Today the bunnies’ new custom hutch is arriving and I will be spending the day tetrising it into our flat. Wish us luck!

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Weekly Roundup

Posted October 5, 2019 by Nikki in General / 4 Comments

G’morning folks. It’s been a tiring week, as my sleeping schedule has been topsy-turvy. I had to go to my parents’ house to get internet every day this week so I could work, which meant getting a lift with my wife in the morning. My circadian rhythm is… not calibrated for this. Gah. And now I’ll be up early on a Saturday for the engineer. Bah!

Anyway, here are the other titles from last week!

Acquired:

Cover of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron Cover of Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia Cover of Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw

Cover of Brightfall by Jaime Lee Moyer Cover of The Rat-Catcher's Daughter by K.J. Charles Cover of Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

Some stuff I’m really excited for, some a bit less so, some I’d barely heard of… a nice mix!

Read this week:

Cover of The Rat-Catcher's Daughter by K.J. Charles Cover of Lost Languages by Andrew Robinson Cover of The October Man by Ben Aaronovitch Cover of Making the Monster by Kathryn Harkup

Reviewed this week:

The Rat-Catcher’s Daughter, by K.J. Charles. Lovely, though the Lilywhite Boys kinda stole the show. 4/5 stars
Lost Languages, by Andrew Robinson. An interesting primer on undeciphered scripts and the progress we (might) have made in deciphering them. 4/5 stars
The October Man, by Ben Aaronovitch. Very similar to the Peter Grant books in voice, as well as (obviously) content. Fun, but not great. 3/5 stars
Making the Monster, by Kathryn Harkup. Takes a while to get onto the actual science behind Frankenstein, but not bad once it does. 3/5 stars
Too Like The Lightning, by Ada Palmer. The narrator is very gender essentialist, and this book barely stands alone enough to even begin to judge what it’s doing there, but overall not my thing and I doubt I’ll continue the series. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual weekly update!

That’s it for this week! How’s everyone doing?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 28, 2019 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

Busy week! And lots of reading too, which is nice. Politics in the UK are… interesting at the moment, but for the comfort of all, let’s not discuss them here. Rugby World Cup also, but, samesies, unless you’re supporting Wales.

Here are some new books!

Acquired this week:

This week has been rather massive on the books front, so I’m splitting it into two! Next week will have this week’s fantasy/SF or other books, while this week is solely for crime/mystery books, most of them from the British Library Crime Classics series!

Cover of Death Has Deep Roots by Michael Gilbert Cover of Fell Murder by E.C.R. Lorac Cover of Surfeit of Suspects by George Bellairs Cover of Murder in the Mill-Race by E.C.R. Lorac

Cover of Death in Captivity by Michael Gilbert Cover of The Belting Inheritance by Julian Symons Cover of Calamity in Kent by John Rowland Cover of Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert

Cover of It Walks By Night by John Dickson Carr Cover of The Documents in the Case by Dorothy L. Sayers

Read this week:

Cover of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark Cover of Smallbone Deceased by Michael Gilbert Cover of It Walks By Night by John Dickson Carr Cover of In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey

Cover of The Interstellar Age by Jim Bell Cover of The Documents in the Case by Dorothy L. Sayers Cover of First Contact / The Cult of Progress by David Olusoga

Reviews posted this week:

The Haunting of Tram Car 015, by P. Djèlí Clark. I didn’t love this as much as the other novella I’ve read by Clark, but the setting makes a nice change, and I’d love to know more about  the world. 3/5 stars
It Walks by Night, by John Dickson Carr. Definitely not impressed by this — I’ve tried two novels by John Dickson Carr, and I don’t get the hype. 2/5 stars
Smallbone Deceased, by Michael Gilbert. This was a much better classic crime novel! Reminded me a little of Sayers in the way that Gilbert was obviously intimately familiar with the kind of office he was writing about. 4/5 stars
In the Night Wood, by Dale Bailey. I was not impressed by the angst and woe of the protagonist who let his daughter drown in the bath while arguing on the phone with his lover, and is all upset that his wife doesn’t want to speak to him. Even in a fantasy setting, that’s old now. 2/5 stars
The Interstellar Age, by Jim Bell. Some interesting stuff here! A bit too much about Bell himself at times, and not heavy on scientific detail, but a good history of the Voyager program on a high level. 3/5 stars
The Documents in the Case, by Dorothy L. Sayers. Interesting format, and Sayers’ usual deft touch with character and dialogue. 4/5 stars
Civilisations: First Contact / The Cult of Progress, by David Olusoga. Felt unfocused and kinda perfunctory at times. Meh? 2/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The usual weekly update!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Brain juice.‘ I explained what norepinephrine is, and how SNRI antidepressants work!

So that’s all for now! How’s your week been, folks?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 21, 2019 by Nikki in General / 10 Comments

Good morning, guys! Happy Saturday! Here’s the roundup from the blog this week…

Acquired:

Cover of The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis Cover of The Family Gene by Joselin Linder Cover of The Uninhabitable Earth of David Wallace-Wells

Read this week:

Cover of Secrets of the Human Body by Xand and Chris Van Tulleken Cover of Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox The Reluctant Widow Cover of The Fellowship of the Ring by Tolkien

Cover of Spectred Isle by K.J. Charles Cover of Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis Cover of Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney

The Fellowship of the Ring was actually the radioplay, but I haven’t uploaded the cover for that yet!

Reviewed this week:

The Body in the Dumb River, by George Bellairs. A competent mystery; hardly transcendent, but entertaining if you’re looking for a Golden Age crime fiction. 3/5 stars
The King in the North, by Max Adams. Very readable, and from all my knowledge, as solid as a biography of a medieval saint can be. 4/5 stars
Spectred Isle, by K.J. Charles. A lovely queer romance, as ever; I loved Saul quite a bit. I want more in this world! 4/5 stars
Thornbound, by Stephanie Burgis. Very enjoyable, though I have some reservations about the worldbuilding. 3/5 stars
Desdemona and the Deep, by C.S.E. Cooney. Misgenders a key character for the first half, kind of meh standard fairytale. 2/5 stars

Other posts:

Discussion: Putting the Joy Back Into It. My thoughts on where my love for reading has gone, and how I’m going to try and fix it.

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Scared right down to your bones.‘ Links about your skeleton being involved in the fear response have been flying round the interwebs, so I had a pick through the evidence and what it might mean.

That’s it for this week! Have you picked up anything good this week? Any exciting bookish adventures ahead?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 14, 2019 by Nikki in General / 11 Comments

Good morning, folks! It’s been a busy week, and I’m not honestly sure where the time has gone. Ah well.

I did at least get an Amazon voucher from the bunnies this week, so I’ve indulged in some ebooks — and I got a couple of new releases, too.

Acquired:

Cover of A Song for a New Day by Sarah Pinsker Cover of The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow Cover of Return of the Black Death by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan Cover of Thornbound by Stephanie Burgis

Cover of The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore Cover of The Haunting of Tram Car 015 by P. Djeli Clark Cover of Desdemona and the Deep by C.S.E. Cooney

Thank you, bunnies!

Finished reading this week:

Cover of The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs Cover of The King in the North by Max Adams Cover of Hekla's Children by James Brogden

Reviews posted this week:

The Aztecs, by Richard F. Townsend. Actually managed to make the Aztecs boring, though I imagine it’s a good scholarly resource. 2/5 stars
The Piltdown Forgery, by J.S. Weiner. A fascinating study, though it pulls back at the last minute to avoid incriminating the obvious culprit. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The weekly update on what’s been on my reading plate!

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘What is a gene drive? I respond to a question about a genetic engineering technique that may help us eliminate malaria and other pests and diseases.

So that’s this week! How’s everyone else doing?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted September 7, 2019 by Nikki in General / 6 Comments

Well, last Saturday was problematic for my weekly roundup, because my site went down! So here’s two weeks’ worth.

Books acquired:

Cover of Making the Monster by Kathryn Harkup Cover of Chernobyl by Serhii Plokhy Cover of The Border by Diarmaid Ferriter Cover of Skin Deep: Journeys in the Divisive Science of Race by Gavin Evans

Cover of The Body in the Dumb River by George Bellairs Cover of Murder at the Fitzwilliam by Jim Eldridge Cover of Murder in the Bookshop by Carolyn Wells

Not quite as eclectic as my usual mix, perhaps!

Books read in the last two weeks:

Cover of Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw Cover of Murder by Matchlight by E.C.R. Lorac Cover of The Gendered Brain by Gina Rippon Cover of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie

Cover of Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Parker Cover of The Border by Diarmaid Ferriter Cover of Heraclix and Pomp by Forrest Agguire

Reviews posted in the last two weeks:

The Pleasures of Reading in an Age of Distraction, by Alan Jacobs. A long essay on reading and how Jacobs thinks you ought to do it. Not as prescriptive as many, but kind of snobbish; an interesting read, but expect to argue with it. 3/5 stars
Perihelion Summer, by Greg Egan. Solidly not my thing; it’s based around an idea, rather than people, and does neither very strongly from my perspective. 2/5 stars
Late Eclipses, by Seanan McGuire. These books are always fun, but I feel like Toby was hit particularly hard with the idiot stick in this book, missing the obvious way too much3/5 stars
Within the Sanctuary of Wings, by Marie Brennan. The last of the Lady Trent books, this wraps up with some surprising and satisfying reveals… 5/5 stars
Darwin Comes to Town, by Menno Schilthuizen. Lots of examples of evolution to suit urban environments. I quibbled a bit with the organisation of the chapters, though. 3/5 stars
The Warrior Queen, by Joanna Arman. Badly edited, and mostly not about its ostensible subject. Also, prone to leaps of imagination without even the courtesy to source its wild claims. 2/5 stars
Turning Darkness into Light, by Marie Brennan. Picking up on the world of Lady Trent with her granddaughter, I found this just a delight. 5/5 stars
The Blue Salt Road, by Joanne Harris. A decent take on selkies — fairly traditional, but with a slightly re-shaped ending. 4/5 stars
To Be Taught, If Fortunate, by Becky Chambers. Not a bad novella, but it suffered a bit from its narrative format. 3/5 stars
Strange Practice, by Vivian Shaw. A delight, as ever — this was a reread. 5/5 stars
The End of Epidemics, by Jonathan Quick. Recommendations on how to manage epidemics (and pandemics) better in future; not entirely sure it’s directed at the right audience, since much of it requires work on the part of governmens and the WHO. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. Last week’s edition…
WWW Wednesday. This week’s edition.

Out and about:

NEAT science: ‘Trilobite shakeup.‘ I wrote about a study that might disrupt our view of trilobite fossils!

Phew, that’s the lot. How’s everyone doing?

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Weekly Roundup

Posted August 24, 2019 by Nikki in General / 8 Comments

Good morning, folks! I’m back from Worldcon, and as ever I think I need a holiday to recover from my holiday. (Which I worked through, also as ever, though I did do reduced hours!)

I met some lovely folks, got a couple of books, and also won a proof copy of Garth Nix’s new book. Not bad! I also had my 30th birthday, and though I joked I needed 30 books (one for each year), I only got nine, so I guess nobody should be serving me in a bar… 😀

Books acquired:

Cover of Angel Mage by Garth Nix Cover of A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian Cover of The Affair of the Mysterious Letter by Alexis Hall Cover of Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

Cover of A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland Cover of To Be Taught, if Fortunate by Becky Chambers Cover of The Lady's Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite Cover of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Cover of Hexarchate Stories by Yoon Ha Lee Cover of The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton Cover of Any Old Diamonds by K.J. Parker Cover of The Quite Nice and Fairly Accurate Good Omens Script Book by Neil Gaiman

Cover of Conan Doyle for the Defence by Margalit Fox Cover of Symphony in C by Robert Hazen

Almost all fiction, but quite a few wildly different genres there. Just another week on my TBR…

Books read this week:

Cover of The Pleasures of Reading in An Age of Distraction by Alan Jacobs Cover of A History of Life in 100 Fossils

Cover of Die Laughing by Carola Dunn Cover of Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews Cover of A Little Light Mischief by Cat Sebastian

Reviews posted:

The Pandemic Century, by Mark Honigsbaum. Not revolutionary in any way, but there are definitely new titbits of information here. 3/5 stars
Dread Nation, by Justina Ireland. This wasn’t 100% for me, but it’s a fascinating setting. I had some questions about the characters — relationships don’t work like that! 3/5 stars
Record of a Spaceborn Few, by Becky Chambers. This had some of the emotional punch of the first and second book, but it didn’t quite add up to a satisfying story for me. It’s a fascinating exploration of a particular corner of Chambers’ world, though. 3/5 stars
In the Labyrinth of Drakes, by Marie Brennan. A lovely instalment of the series, which solves some mysteries and involves a lot of the lovely partnership between Tom and Isabella. 5/5 stars
Exit Strategy, by Martha Wells. Not quite what I hoped for, but a good conclusion for Murderbot nonetheless. Looking forward to the novel! 4/5 stars
This is How You Lose The Time War, by Max Gladstone and Amal El-Mohtar. It didn’t work for me that well, but you gotta appreciate time-travelling multiple-dimensional lesbians. 3/5 stars
Mistletoe and Murder, by Carola Dunn. Fairly standard for this series, but as always it makes a good cosy mystery. 3/5 stars
Heartstopper, volume 2, by Alice Oseman. It’s just so goddamn cute. 4/5 stars
The Cruel Prince, by Holly Black. I was told that this gets better if you hold on to the end, which shakes things up, but… I was so bored. I DNFed it. 1/5 stars
Gene Machine, by Venki Ramakrishnan. I found this disappointing in two ways. 1) The secrets of the ribosome aren’t really unlocked, only the structure. That will tell us a lot more in time, but it doesn’t yet. 2) Ramakrishnan’s obvious antipathy to one particular competitor, of whom he says hardly a kind word that isn’t loaded with begrudging “I’m saying this to be fair, but I don’t really mean it”. She’s a woman; that is now how he treats male scientists. 3/5 stars

Other posts:

WWW Wednesday. The pre-Worldcon roundup…
WWW Wednesday. And this week’s roundup.

So how’s everyone doing? Reading anything good? Got your hands on an awesome book? Share! (The news, not the book. At least not till you’ve read it. I’m not a monster.)

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