Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

Trying to shed a light on the wonderful maze of books...

Review
4 Stars
The Only Harmless Great Thing
The Only Harmless Great Thing - Brooke Bolander

The Tor.com Ebook of the Month club was recently brought to my attention (it was here on BL but I forgot by whom), and this was January's pick so I wanted to give it a try and went into it without any prior knowledge. Imaging my surprise when one of the narratives is from the POV of an elephant.

What unraveled was a wonderful short story, which was part alternate history where elephants have taken over the jobs after the unfortunate Radium girls start dying, part social commentary.

In the beginning I was afraid that three different narratives in one novella would prove to be too much, but in the end I thought it was just fine. Very interesting, I would definitely like to read more by Brooke Bolander.

TBR Thursday
Not much reading since Sunday. I'm reading The Disappearing Spoon but so far I've been disappointed a bit. Hope it will be a little less chaotic in the later chapters.

 

TBR as of today: 1752 (+6)

 

Books read in 2019: 9 (+1)

 

Pages in 2019: 1282 (+168)

 

What I've Read This Week

 

 

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

  

 

On eReader

 

                          

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

ARC

 

        

 

Have you read any of these books?

 
 
Review
1 Stars
Gang Of Fools
Gang of Fools - James Otis Smith

I really didn't like this.

And Dystopian settings are usually among my favorites but I just couldn't get myself to like Gang of Fools. I felt a fool reading it because it came across as very chaotic. There are so many story lines, all of which we are old just slightly to little to either completely get it or care about the character. I got the idea the author just wanted to throw as much as possible at the reader in hope of shocking them. I'm sure it was a clever story, but it really wasn't for me. Also the art didn't work for me, it felt rushed at some times and chaotic at others, filling the panels with a lot of text and characters.

It really wasn't for me.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Mr. In-Between
Mr In Between - Neil Cross

I first got interested in Mr. In-Between when I learned Neil Cross is behind the series Luther and used to work on Spooks. While I was expecting it to be a raw story, I'm not sure anything could have prepared me for the thoroughly depressing world of Jon.

As an assassin to The Tattooed Man he kills and maims on order, without ever feeling anything about it. It is not just his job, but everything that seems to have this dark, gruesome and hopeless atmosphere. Even when he meets some people from 'before'  and he is said to re-enter the normal world, a feeling left me wondering whether he was being pulled there, or was he not pulling them with him into the darkness.

Nice is not a term to describe a novel like this. I can't even say I enjoyed reading it. But somehow it did have something interesting. However, I bore quickly from lengthy descriptions of torture and I'm not sure I would read more books by Mr. Cross.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

TBR Thursday (on a Sunday)

Last week has been a bit of a weird week for me. The weekend I spent with a short trip to London, followed by - finally - the move of our research lab to the health campus when on Thursday I managed to burn my hand when trying to pour a cup of soup. I never new soup was that warm. While the hand is healing fine, I completely forgot about the Thursday update, and typing was quite difficult anyway.

 

On to the Bookish stuff. Both the month of January and trips to London always bring great books to add to the TBR. I hope to finish some of the quickly, but also need to take a look at the ROOT part of my challenge, because I fear at this point I'm failing it quite dramatically.

 

TBR as of today: 1746 (+4)

 

Books read in 2019: 8 (+2)

 

Pages in 2019: 1114 (+398)

 

What I've Read This Week

 

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

  

 

On eReader

 

                           

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

Tree Books

 

     

 

ARC

 

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

Review
3.5 Stars
Cry Fox
Rivers of London Volume 5: Cry Fox - Ben Aaronovitch

It is no secret I'm a fan of the Rivers of London series and one of the things I like is the multiple ways in which the story is told, e.g. here the graphic novel. Like its predecessors it is good in keeping you entertained while waiting for the next novel in the series.

Cry Fox only contained four issues so it was a very fast read. It was a take on a very well known tale which was maybe not the most surprising or original but the nice cast of characters make up a lot. As one of the characters plays a role in the sixth book, The Hanging Tree, it is best read after it. At the end there is some more information about the Fox in several cultural and literary settings.

Review
3 Stars
Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick - Laurent Queyssi

Philip K. Dick was a very well known science fiction writer, but I have not read anything by him besides Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (which became the movie Blade Runner). I was mostly interested in the comic biography form, but was also glad to learn more about Dick's complicated life.

This was not the most in depth analysis of the author or his work, but I think it worked quite well for those who just want to know a bit more about him. I certainly learned new things, one of the most shocking the shear amount of novels the man wrote in a very limited window. 5 in one year alone.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Waves
Waves - Ingrid Chabbert

Waves was a beautifully told story about hope and loss and what it takes to find hope again. The story floats as much as you would expect from the title. The illustrations were really nice and for me they helped a lot to make the story more powerful and added much to the story.

While it was a quick read for me, it was one that stayed with me for quite some days, so I was very glad Netgalley granted my wish on this one.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
3 Stars
Ripley's Believe It Or Not
Ripley's Believe It or Not - Tony Isabella

I went into reading this without any knowledge of Ripley's Believe It or Not. I believe it was once suggested for a London city trip, but just as quickly abandoned. However, reading about some strange facts never seems to bore me, so I gave it a try.

I didn't care much for the artwork, it felt very comic-y and not much refined. However, some of the short stories were quite interesting although quite a few of them were already known to me. The Irish Giant for example, was one of the oddities I did see on the aforementioned London city trip, where it still stands in the Hunterian museum. There is always a short comic followed by some information around the topic.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Review
2 Stars
The Daughters Of Salem
The Daughters of Salem - Thomas Gilbert

The Daughters of Salem is a first part in a retelling of the events that let up to the witch trials in Salem and focuses on the misogynistic atmosphere that was around in the puritan times. While this initially sounded like an interesting take on a well known story, it fell a bit flat for me.

The struggles of the women come across, but all of them seem overly done and I didn't care for any of the characters really. There was a part one easily might consider racist. The art was very modest, which fit the puritan themes but was not really my cup of tea either. I don't think I will be continuing this series, especially since I already know where it is heading.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Reading progress update: I've read 20 out of 394 pages.
The Disappearing Spoon: And Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World from the Periodic Table of the Elements - Sam Kean

Call me late to the party but when I was visiting my sister in London this weekend, I happened upon The Disappearing Spoon and I had seen so much of it recently, I couldn't leave without it.

 

The authors mentions his fascination for the element Mercury, and it's one of the elements I've also loved since I was a kid because I liked the name of it (in Dutch) : Kwik (from quicksilver).

 

I'm only 20 pages in, but one note already. In my edition the side notes are all collected at the back rather than at the bottom of the pages. It will need some getting used to and I'll need a bookmark...

TBR Thursday

I feel like maybe I was a little overambitious at the beginning of the month, starting many new novels, as now I feel I haven't finished any book in a long time. To bridge the gap I've read some graphic novels, but I need to keep my ROOT goal in mind. Also, January never is a good month for the TBR as many publisher list their spring titles this month and there always seem to be so many good books out there! However, I visited an English book store earlier this week and didn't buy anything, so that's good.

 

TBR as of today: 1742 (-2)

 

Books read in 2019: 6 (+5)

 

Pages in 2019: 716 (+531)

 

What I've Read This Week

 

 

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

 

 

On eReader

 

 

                           

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

ARC

 

 

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

Review
3 Stars
Goblin Market
Goblin Market (Little Black Classics #53) - Christina Rossetti

As I'm slowly making my way through Penguin Little Black Classics, I come across authors that are completely new to me, like Christina Rossetti. In school we skipped the Victorian literary area altogether because our teacher didn't like Dickens. (So straight from the Romantics to the First World War we went).

Goblin Market, the poem that this collection is named after, is a warning tale about temptation. While the narrative style of the poem made it easily readable, I found the repetitive style was not really my cup of tea. Some of her other poems, I liked better, most notably Song. A lot of her poems are concerned with death, which made it a rather depressing collection.

~ Little Black Classics #53 ~

Review
3 Stars
City of God
City of God - Cecelia Holland

~First book of 2019~

 

I do not know too much about the Borgia family, who for a while ruled over large parts of Italy but had wider desires still. Much of what I know I got from watching Horrible Histories and playing Assassin's Creed (the one set in Rome being my favorite). City of God takes you along the path of the English Nicholas, as he tries to sneak his way in the Borgias good graces.

It is entirely my own fault that it stood on my shelves for so long, however, when I started reading I suddenly remembered why. There was an error in my e-copy, making that there wasn't a single pagebreak in the entire book. All text was pasted together, making me guess as to when the scenes had changed (considering this is a book filled with conspiracy and backstabbing, imagine my initial surprises when I missed a change of scene and thought someone present at the actual meeting where they discuss his murder). While annoying, the book was still more than readable.

While I enjoyed the setting, and the level of scheming is worthy of Game of Thrones, I missed a connection to the main character. Why does he do what he does? And more importantly, why should we, as readers, care? He always felt very distant and even when personal tragedy strikes, I didn't feel for him. I fear this will not be a book that stays with me over time.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

TBR Thursday

So, for starters I have a small confession to make. Taken together everything (including books that have been pressed onto me) I started 2019 with 1752 unread books. Last year this number increased with about 50 books, which already was the lowest in years. I hope to see a further decline in the rise of Mt. TBR, and maybe even end up with fewer books (though I can't make any promises, since I never now if Penguin decides to publish maybe a set of Little Purple classics, and I just have to get them all).

 

TBR as of today: 1744

Books read in 2019: 1

Pages: 185 (+ everything in the books I'm currently reading; pages are only counted once a book is finished)

 

What I've Read (Since Jan 1)

 

 

Currently Reading

 

On Paper

 

 

 

On eReader

 

 

                          

 

On Audio

 

 

Books added to Mt TBR

 

ARC

 

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

Review
4 Stars
The Hanging Tree
The Hanging Tree - Ben Aaronovitch


One of the things I really worry to much about when it comes to books is their height. I want my series to fit together and have on occasions taken a ruler into the bookstore to make sure I bought the right one. It completely beats me why there are so many different heights available or why this sometimes differs between UK and US editions. Usually, I'm most pleased by the standard 197mm edition, but these are for some reason often not brought onto the market for a full six to nine months after publication (sometimes even the MMP are released before!). I'm sorry for the rambling - what I wanted to say was that if you've been waiting for such a long time after publication, when the book finally arrives, it doesn't always scream as loudly as it did in the beginning, and in the case of The Hanging Tree, so many great book were passing by, I -shamefully- admit to forgetting about it until I saw the newest book in the series, Lies Sleeping, in stores recently. On the other hand, the series looks superbly in my book case.

The sixth novel in the Peter Grant series brings back a lot of old and new characters, ultimately centering once more on Peter and his, at this time grown into, arch nemesis. Since it was a while since I read the fifth book I was worried I would not get into the story easily, but I needn't worry. It was not hard to recognize why I like these books so much. The story is okay, but it is Peter's way of describing police procedural, diplomacy (with the Rivers) and life in general (which I can only describe as British) that really makes this series so wonderful. I mean, he uses the phrase 'hoi polloi'. Period.

Just an interesting side note to end this review with: The paperback edition of Lies Sleeping is currently planned for May 24th, and Book Depository describes the height as 198mm *inner scream*.

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