2017, #76, "Sovereign", April Daniels

Jul. 27th, 2017 08:46 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

Second in Daniels' Nemesis series. Was looking forward to it after having read the first. Now looking even much more forward to #3 in the series, even if I occasionally would like to shout "oh no, you're being an idiot" at the words on the page. But, they describe plausible happenings and misconstruing of behaviour that, well, maybe is more apparent to an external observer.

We're basically continuing "super-powered capers" that the first book was quite full of. With a side-line of court cases, politics and the like.

Ought to work well as a jump-off point, but why not start one book earlier?
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Been a while since I read this. It's still eminently readable. The narrative style is a little bit weird, in that it flips between first-person and third-person, depending on who our POV character is. Thankfully, only one POV character gets first-person and I don't recall any case of third person when the first person POV character is present. o it mostly works out.

We follow a gambler and thief, who hooks up with some slightly dodgy characters claiming to work for the archmage of the wizard island (town?), re-homing ancient artefacts. Our thief comes in for artefacts whose current owners are unwilling to let said re-homing proceed. And of COURSE it's never than easy.

Being the first of McKenna's Tales of Einarinn series, it's a perfect place to start.

So much for planning

Jul. 26th, 2017 08:49 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
The first week of school holidays; a big to-do list to get done at both home and work before Helsinki; in particular a big code push early on Tuesday morning.  I had a whole carefully worked-out schedule of when Tony and I would be at work and on leave and working from home and doing childcare runs.

Early on Monday morning, I woke up very suddenly and proceeded to have a very thorough stomach upset for much of the day.  My boss is the best boss, for taking over and sorting out my Tuesday work for me.  I had to reorganise the cleaner, and my routine bone marrow appointment due today (because taking a potential stomach bug into a ward of cancer patients is distinctly antisocial) and completely redo the who-is-home-when plan for the week.

But I was at least able to work today, and (fingers-crossed) I'll be back in the office tomorrow.

The most exciting thing this week has at least gone to plan so far.  My dad made a flying visit today to collect Nicholas for a long weekend at WOMAD. His first time away from home without a parent in tow; not his first time away from both parents though, and it should be a lot of fun for them both.  I look forward to hearing all about it on Monday.

Exertion hangover

Jul. 23rd, 2017 09:08 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
Last Sunday (after Saturday's epic dog chase where I lost my keys) I woke up feeling the most hungover I have in years.  And I didn't even get drunk first!  I did manage to pull myself together by early afternoon, and we successfully hosted Nicholas's birthday party at the Little Gym in the late afternoon.

Yesterday was tiring, but for a much more pleasant reason. I took Nicholas to see My First Ballet: Cinderella at the Peacock Theatre, and for icecream at Ruby Violet afterward. We walked to Ruby Violet through pouring rain with bright new umbrellas, and had the whole shop to ourselves.  By the time we'd finished eating it was bright and sunny for the return walk to Kings Cross.  This morning I was thankfully free of hangover symptoms, but did (need to) spend the morning in bed again.  (Reading fanfic and re-reading All Systems Red; there are worse ways to spend a Sunday morning.)

The shiny new phone runs Pokemon Go and on Friday I let Charles talk me into installing it and going for a daily walk with him. The first evening, we passed the charity shop and saw the biggest Angry Bird toy I have ever seen.  Charles bought it at opening time the next morning.  Today our walk took us past the noticeboard in the park - where someone had hung my lost keys!  About five minutes later, we met one of the people who'd put them there, who said they'd found them about 5 minutes after I'd gone home last week from grumpily trawling the park!  I thanked them profusely and asked them to pass it on.

Nicholas says he wants to be called Nick rather than Nico, and I'm slipping up far too often, but at least making sure other adults taking care of him are made aware, and giving him some standard reminder phrases to use on me and others. (It's really not my preferred version of his name, but it's his name not mine, so I need to get over that.)

School has finished for the summer, and in less than two weeks we will be in Helsinki!  I have so much to do between now and then ...
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

Second of the Spatterjay (sub-)series in Asher's Polity universe. Takes place about ten years after the end of the previous book. We do, again, follow several different viewpoint characters, on all sorts of moral sides of any situation that may happen in the book. Some are returning characters, some are new.

I'd definitely recommend starting with the first book in the series, but all in all an eminently readable book.
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Previously unread.

This is the, what, ninth? eighth? book in Stross's The Laundry Files and the wheels on the hand-basket are truly on their way out, along a radial trajectory.

This book sees the return of many faces from previous books, as we slowly see things unwind around Bob. I am trying real hard to not let anything slip here, you see, as I feel that approaching the book spoiler-free is the most, ah, enjoyable? way of reading it. Surprising at least.

Anyway, Laundry Files, if you've read some of them before, you know what to expect. If you haven't, might I humbly suggest that this is perhaps not the best starting point (although it may well work as an intro novel). We do a fair bit of POV shifting in this book, even if it's primarily a "Bob" book (we also follow Mo, Mhari and Cassie, as well as the occasional follow-the-baddies).

All in all, a gripping read. I shall blame technology (and not being completely done with the previous book in time for the release) for taking this abysmally long to finish off something that was released a whole 4 days ago.

Not what I had planned for the day

Jul. 15th, 2017 09:45 pm
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
I lost my house keys this evening, almost certainly while trying to help catch a loose dog in the local park. The dog is unharmed and reunited with his owners, who live nearby, but there was some terrifying running into a busy road first, and a bunch of talking to people after (including a long-overdue catchup with my neighbour).

Between that and my subsequent pacing around the park failing to find my keys, I am 50% over my target step count and extremely grumpy with tiredness.

2017 - #72, "The Skinner", Neal Asher

Jul. 15th, 2017 01:55 pm
vatine: books-related stuff (books)
[personal profile] vatine
Reread.

This is the first book in the Sptterjay series, set in Asher's Polity world.

Time-wie, the Spatterjay books fall well after the rest of the series (bar, possibly, Transformation), but as the first two books takes place entirely (or almost entirely) on the planet of Spatterjay (see how the planet meshes with the name of the series...), it's not massively important exactly how it lines up timewise.

We follow a couple of different viewpoint characters. Ehrlin is a Hooper (that is, someone who's been infected by the leech virus, present in most (if not all) lifeforms on Spatterjay), who's been away from Spatterjay for a while, having adventures. Janer is employed by a sentient hornet hive, that he (some decades ago) spent two years indentured to, for killing one of its bodies at a football match. Sable Keech is a reif (basically a cyber-enhanced walking corpse), and ECS monitor. Sniper, a war drone. And Windcatcher, which I shall say nothing about. And a few more, who get walk-on POV roles.

Fundamentally, this is a story about loss and revenge. And how these things change, as time passes. I guess there's some talk about life and what immortality may mean for the human condition.

Again, this is a Polity book so it's kinda grimdark, in places.
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
[personal profile] rmc28
First of all, I accidentally bought the wrong shiny new phone outright, but that's ok, I'm being sent a returns envelope and I'm being refunded, and that's a lesson to double-check the version number before hitting buy.

Then I bought the right shiny new phone on contract from my current mobile SIM provider. I had it delivered to a local store, because it was that or my house, and slogged into town yesterday to collect it.  I was under the impression that the local store staff could sort out moving my number - this isn't a PAC situation because it's same-company to same-company.  But no! They were powerless! If I had come into the store to buy the thing in the first place they could have helped me, but because I bought in online I had to ring up the helpline to sort out my number.

So I did that this morning. But apparently because I have Not Done Things The Expected Way, the only way the person on the phone could resolve things is to have the phone company ship me another phone, and separately ship me a prepaid envelope to send back the other one -the one I have already spent ages setting up, naturally.  The idea that they could just update the records on the database on which they can see the details of both my contracts is just not possible, and there was a definite flavour of them graciously helping me out of my own mistake because it was clearly stated on the website that I had to go into a store to upgrade. 

(I checked this morning, and the relevant page does say "you can upgrade by going into a [brand] store" - in a page that has a bunch of other stuff on it, and in definitely smaller print than the big banners saying "get special deal on our shiny new phones".  Were it me, I'd change it to say "to upgrade, you must go into a store".)

I mean, I think I'm not going to be out any money due to my Not Doing It Properly, just some tedious admin.  But it's annoying and I'm frustrated both by the weddedness to Going Into A Shop, and by the idea it's somehow better to ship two phones back and forth than to update a database.

The phone is very shiny and lovely though, and I'm sure its twin will be just as good.