Url Phantomhive

Url Phantomhive

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

24-in-48 Halfway-ish Update

Well, technically, it's seven hours past halfway, but I've been sleeping.


I wanted to join this summer's 24-in-48 (where one aims to read for 24 out of 48 hours, and not necessarily as someone asked me read 24 books ;) ) to boost my summer holiday reading. However, so far my attempts at this read-a-thon have been terrible at best, so I wasn't sure how it was going to work out since I've only just recovered from a reading slump.


So far, I feel it's going fine. Reading has been a bit in bits and pieces, so I'm not sure I hit the 12 hour mark yesterday, but anyway I'm happy with the progress. I decided to use for this read-a-thon my five year old Kobo Ereader which still holds some books I've never read.


Started and currently reading through the 24-in-48:


* War & Peace - Tolstoy (9%)


* The Trial - Franz Kafka (48%)


* Playing Nice - Rebekah Crane (55%)


* The Athena Effect - Derrolyn Anderson (37%)


* Daimones - Massimo Marino (38%)


* Jade Sky - Weston Ochse (26%)


* The Legend of Sarah - Leslie Gadallah (Just starting)


Happy second day of the 24-in-48!

Reading Slump (Zero out of Five, Would Not Recommend)

It's been awhile.


The reason for this is I've been through -this sounds more dramatic really than it was- my biggest reading slump in years over the past couple of months. I was surprised and it took some time for me to realize what was happening. I've been reading steadily for at least the last five years (and although I've tuned down my reading challenge a bit since 2018 what with the PhD and everything) I felt everything was going fine. Also reading wise. Until it didn't.


I guess I was stuck with some books I didn't enjoy reading and it is not in my nature to quit them. I know I can't really complain since I still read six books in the worst month of it. But more than the sheer lack of books being read it was much the feeling that encompassed it. I didn't feel like reading (very weird feeling, would not recommend it ;) ). I am ashamed to say some books (I always read multiple at any given time) took me half a year to finish. But finish them I did and finally saw some light at the end of the reading tunnel.


I'm happy to say the joy of reading has returned to me, and I feel like I've been making up for lost time, slowly trying to catch up with my reading challenge (which I still hope to make by the end of the year). Only 14 books behind (rather than 30), so it's already a win.


However, when I didn't feel like reading I also didn't feel like writing about it, so I haven't spend much time on here lately. I will have to write some reviews to catch up and I hope you can forgive me for my absence.


PS. I plan on taking on the 24-in-48 again, however previous attempts have gone horribly awry (last time my parents decided to bring home a cat, and the reading was done for the weekend) so I'm curious to see where it is going.

3 Stars
The Disappearing Spoon
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

I finally finished this one.

It was a read for the Flat Book Society and I believe I was the last one still reading The Disappearing Spoon. It was not an easy read, especially at times. The first couple of chapters were all over the place and I know a lot of people DNFed at this point. I continued and I liked the later chapters much more.
It's better when Kean is not trying to explain the table, I find. Or, in his more future perspectives-part (the final chapters), these I also liked less.

My favorite anecdote is of two Danish researchers who were keeping onto some Nobel prizes of Jewish German scientists in the second world war and who dissolved the Novel prizes to make sure they survived the war. After the war, the gold was precipitated, sent back to the Nobel committee and they made the medal anew.

3.5 Stars
Outdoor London
Outdoor London: Green spaces and escapes in and around the capital - Eleanor Ross

I really like London. I also love how green it is, even in the very busy parts of it. This was a nice collection of everything London has to offer on this part, some of my favorite places were included. Everything was accompanied by nice photographs that made me want to visit London again.

The only thing I thought could have been better was the guide part of the book. There was just a little bit of information and I would have liked to see a bit more, or learn a bit more about the special things one can do in each garden/green/park.

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

3 Stars
The Engineer
The Engineer (Irons #1) - Luc Brahy, Tristan Roulot

It's been a while since I finished a book, had sort of a reading slump with work being so busy. I hope to pick up the normal pace soon though.




The beginning of this graphic novel was really strong, so much so that I had high hopes for the rest. While it was definitely entertaining it was basically a not so nice guy investigating a bridge collapse. Which was nice but only so much exciting.

The main character has a tragic back story but it was difficult to really like him. I'm curious however to see where it is going from here. The art was not superb but nice enough. I would like to read the next volume.

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

Please [redacted] my last e-mail

I recently found out Nature, the scientific journal, has a series of sf shorts that are being published together with the research. Please [redacted] my last e-mail was one of the latest and I enjoyed this short story, that starts as something, but ends quite differently.

3 Stars
Percy Shelley
Percy Shelley (Percy Shelley) - David Vandermeulen

Percy Shelley is mostly remembered as the husband of Mary Shelley. I knew he also was a poet, but much more I didn't know. This graphic novels tells his story as he is expelled from Oxford and pisses off many people in the pursuit of his dreams.

I don't know how accurate this story is, but I felt most sorry for his first wife, Harriet. Percy didn't came across as a likeable character. The art is rather cartoonish and not really my style. I'm however curious to find out more and would probably read the second part in this series.

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

2 Stars
A Walk Through Hell
A Walk Through Hell, Volume 1 - Garth Ennis

I have trouble describing what I just read. It was a mix of so many different story, both set in the present and the past that I had great trouble distilling the story from the pages. It sounded interesting enough though. Two FBI agents, still struggling with the aftermath of their previous case, are called to investigate a warehouse. Something strange and deadly is certainly going on.

I had the feeling it tries to be to much different things and therefore, it sort of fails at all of them, if that makes any sense. Also, I didn't really like that the ending was so open, I have to read the second and possibly more volumes to get even some kind of closure. The artwork was okay, but nothing special. I just felt like it didn't live up to its potential.

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

4 Stars
Lucy: Speak Out! (PEANUTS AMP Series Book 12) - Charles M. Schulz

With Peanuts, you know you're going to have a good time. While we were fans of Peanuts at home, I never read much of the comics when I was younger. Thus, I'm having a great time reading many of them for the first time.

This volume focuses around Lucy, who is loud at the best of times and definitely in this one. As per usual, I much liked Woodstock. There is also some social commentary about gender equality which remains a hot topic still.

Would recommend!

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

3 Stars
The Weathermonger
The Weathermonger - Peter Dickinson

I haven't finished a book in almost two weeks. It feels unnatural, and The Weathermonger is not to blame, but not a single book could keep my attention over the last 10 days. I miss the rest I can usually get from reading.

Anyway, I read this was actually written and published first, with the other books being prequels, and I kind of would have liked to see it that way. There are some things that are being explained in the Weathermonger which make that the other books make more sense. However, I also sort of see why the publisher would switch the order, because some part of the excitement will be spoiled this way.

There are once again two new main characters who are forced to flee to France, only to be immediately sent back to England in order to spy and search for what has been causing the changes. What they will uncover is some much sought after explanation for what has been going on in the other two books. I liked this one best, it felt slightly less cut and closed as the previous two books and the start especially I found gripping.

I think I would recommend starting with this one.

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

Snakes And Ladders Master Post

I'll be updating this post as I move along the board.


This looks like a lot of fun and just the kind of thing I was looking for at the moment. Now, that I see everyone playing snakes and ladders, I suddenly understand why yesterday I got a notification of a like of a years-old review of Seanan McGuire's short story, Snakes and Ladders. ;)


As I'm usually reading multiple books at the same time, I think I will try to always fit books to the squares I'll land on.


I remember I hated Snakes and Ladders as a kid, since I never seemed to land on a ladder. I hope I'll have better luck this time around.



1. Author is a woman - The Thorn and The Sinking Stone - CJ Dushinski


12. Author's last name begins with the letters T, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z. - Vivatera - Candace J Thomas


18. Set in a school - The Connelly Boys - Lily Velez


This book started at a school but by the far the biggest part had nothing to do with schools, so I decided this book wasn't a fit after all. So, only one dice this time.


22. Set in Asia - Real World - Natsuo Kirino


One of the oldest books on my TBR, set in Tokyo, Japan.


34. Snake - go back to 1


I told you I always have the worst of luck in these games.


1. Author is a woman - The Path Keeper - NJ Simmonds


7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D. - Heartsease - Peter Dickinson


13. Author is a man

3 Stars
Heartsease - Peter Dickinson

This second book in the Changes Trilogy is set five years after the first, but follows a different set of characters. The Changes have become more grounded is this book and there is a whole generation emerging for whom this life is becoming the norm.

The society is one built on fear. When an American spy is caught, he is stoned as a Witch and left for dead. A couple of youngster conspire to help him escape from Britain, still mysteriously the only country affected by this apocalypse.

I liked this part a bit better than the first. It felt less dated, and the world seemed a little bit more explained, although many questions remain. The story is also rather concise, since it is not very long and like I noticed in The Devil's Children, the book has a very closed and neat end, which seemed a bit too simple after what happens in the book.

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




This was my read for square 7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

Since the author is Peter Dickinson, I get to roll 2 dice.

3 Stars
The Devil's Children
DEVIL'S CHILDREN (Changes Trilogy) - Peter Dickinson

I don't know what to think about these books. I was unfamiliar with the series, but came across it on Netgalley when a new ebook version of the entire trilogy was published. What I didn't realize was that the books had first been published in the late 60s.

And I have to admit that to me this first novel The Devil's Children felt rather outdated. It had some interesting ideas and some themes that remain relevant today (xenophobia; a country whose inhabitants have lost their minds and isolated themselves from all other countries and all technology (looking at you, Brexit)), but it ultimately fell flat on many of the same aspects.

All Britons have developed an overnight fear for everything with machines or technology and are reverting back to pre-industrial times. Nicky joins a group of Sikhs who are looking for a new place to stay.

What was so strange about this particular apocalypse was that it was a) confined to Britain, b) had some very special rules about what was allowed and what not in terms of technology. Evacuation of the island seemed fine. Also immigrants were not affected by this plague and we are not given a clue as to how the apocalypse came to be. The story was wrapped up a bit too smoothly for my liking, and book two features different characters, so I think this ends Nicky's story.

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

2 Stars
The Path Keeper
The Path Keeper - N.J. Simmonds

I liked the cover. I probably should have read a bit further before requesting it on Netgalley. Ella has it all in London, but she can't find her place until she meets her stalker, ehm love interest. He spends the entire book saying how he always loved her, through all her previous lives. That is not scary at all.

It was one of the most cringe worthy romances I read in a long while. After she meets Zac there is not a single thing besides him that she can do or think about. He will break the rules, just for her. Add to this a random attempted rape, which was completely glanced over, and a rather ridiculous subplot about Ella's parents and I found I was not really caring any more about any of the big revelations with the angels, who may or may not play a part in life.

It was a fast read, sure, but I never got into the story. The characters don't really have a personality besides loving each other. This was definitely not for me.

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




After I took the snake I was back to square 1: by a female author. This book is written by NJ Simmonds, a woman, so I get to roll 2 dice.


7. Author's last name begins with the letters A, B, C, or D.

3 Stars
Her Infernal Descent
Her Infernal Descent Vol. 1: Contrapasso - Zac Thompson, Lonnie Nadler

I really liked the concept for this. A middle-aged woman, mother of three, descents into Hell in order to find her lost family in this modern take on Dante's inferno.

What I liked was the main character, she was a real person and not a likely main character. I also liked the concept, as I said, but I felt that in the execution is was sometimes a bit too crowded, and I felt less would have been more in this case. Virgil has been changed for William Blake, possibly because he wrote some works on heaven and hell, that I haven't read. Also, Agatha Christie alters as the guide. There are a lot of quotes from the works of people they encounter, but once again it was a bit too much.

Also, the artwork was not really my style. While I appreciate the desperateness that is clear from it, it was a bit too sketchy for me.

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

2 Stars
Real World
Real World - Natsuo Kirino, Philip Gabriel

This is one of those books that has been on my shelves for seemingly ever, or at least since before I joined GR 8 years ago. I was looking for a book set in Asia, and came across Real World by Natsuo Kirino, about five teens in Tokyo who are unhappy about their lives.

I don't know if the translation is to blame, I read it in Dutch, but I had a very hard time liking this book. Each chapter is from a different POV as four teenage girls come into contact with with another teen, who has just murdered is mother. All are discontent about various aspects of their lives.

I didn't like it. If anything, I thought the ending was quite strong and redeemed the story a little bit. Which is why I settled for 2 stars. I wouldn't pick up another Kirino book soon I think, but I'm glad I got to read one of the oldest books of the TBR.




I read this for Snakes and Ladders square 22. Set in Asia. This is set in Tokyo, Japan, so I got to roll two dice.


This means I land on a Snake and are quite literally back where I started: at square 1.

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