James Nicoll Reviews

Home > Blog

Blog Posts from June 2023 (6)

Books Received, June 10 — June 16

17 Jun, 2023


The Ghost-Wrangler by Matthew Hughes (June 2023)

In a world of wizards and walled cities, Galabras Nachecko is a necromancer in the seaport metropolis of Golathreon, connecting the living with deceased relatives and associates to answer questions left unresolved at the time of death.

Then he is tasked by Duke Simisson’s conniving seneschal to capture the ghost of a notorious land pirate scheduled for execution. He snags the spirit but finds that the assignment has made him a man who knows too much.

Nachecko is propelled into a new career — secret agent segueing into diplomat — that leads him far from home, plunges him into perilous adventures, and brings him both true love and tragedy.

Read more ➤

Books Received, June 3 — June 9

10 Jun, 2023


Alone With You in the Ether: A Love Story by Olivie Blake (October 2023)

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six comes an intimate and contemporary study of time, space, and the nature of love. Alone with You in the Ether explores what it means to be unwell, and how to face the fractures of yourself and still love as if you’re not broken. 

CHICAGO, SOMETIME – Two people meet in the armory of the Art Institute by chance. Prior to their encounter, he is a doctoral student who manages his destructive thoughts with compulsive calculations about time travel; she is a bipolar counterfeit artist undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy. By the end of the story, these things will still be true. 

But this is not a story about endings. 

For Regan, life is a finish line of mutually assured disappointment. Her method of coping with the dreariness of existence is to project herself into imagined multipotency, spinning new threads of destiny with every impulsive decision she makes. For Aldo, life is a plague of constancy – a structure of rules and formulas that keep him going, without which the entire frame of his existence would collapse. 

For both of them, life is a matter of resigning themselves to the blueprints of inevitability, until six conversations with a stranger form the variable that glitches the entire simulation. 

Read more ➤

Books Received, May 27 — June 2

3 Jun, 2023


Bookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree (November 2023)

First loves. Second-hand books. Epic adventures. Viv’s career with the renowned mercenary company Rackam’s Ravens isn’t going as planned. Wounded during the hunt for a powerful necromancer, she’s packed off against her will to recuperate in the sleepy beach town of Murk — so far from the action that she worries she’ll never be able to return to it. What’s a thwarted soldier of fortune to do? Spending her hours at a struggling bookshop in the company of its foul-mouthed proprietor is the last thing Viv would have predicted. Even though it may be exactly what she needs. Still, adventure isn’t far away. A suspicious traveller in grey, a gnome with a chip on her shoulder, a summer fling and an improbable number of skeletons prove Murk to be more eventful than Viv could have ever expected. Sometimes, right things happen at the wrong time. Sometimes, what we need isn’t what we seek. And sometimes, we find ourselves in the stories we experience together. Set twenty years before the events of Legends & Lattes, Bookshops & Bonedust is a standalone cosy fantasy by BookTok sensation Travis Baldree about the power of good bookshops, great friends and the unexpected choices along the way. 

Read more ➤

June 2023 Patreon Boost!

1 Jun, 2023


Another month, another 22 reviews! All thanks to commissioned reviews and my legion of patrons, for whose continued support over the last nine or so years I am very grateful.

Brazen Head, my new Framework laptop, continues to function without issue. Granted, that is how new laptops are supposed to work but by this time in my previous laptop’s life, I’d exchanged it for a replacement twice. 

This months’ big news is that my related site, Young People Read Old SFF, is up for an Aurora Award for a third time! Third time lucky, I hope. I would have posted this news on the Young People site’s blog… if I’d had the foresight to have one.

If you’d like to join my patreon, the link is here. If you would prefer to commission an individual review, the link is here. If you’d just care to throw money at me1, that link is here.

Read more ➤

May 2023 in Review

1 Jun, 2023


May 2023

22 works reviewed. 14 by women (64%), 8 by men (36%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 0 by authors whose gender is unknown (0%), and 10 by POC (45%)

2023 to Date

108 works reviewed. 62 by women (57%), 45 by men (42%), 0 by a non-binary author (0%), 1 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 44 by POC (41%).

Grand Total to Date

2376 works reviewed. 1329 by women (56%), 994 by men (42%), 34 by non-binary authors (1%), 19 by authors whose gender is unknown (1%), and 720.75 by POC (30%).

Government Types May 2023

Total 22, Not Applicable 4 (18%), Unclear 1 (5%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 1 (5%), Representative democracy 7 (32%), Oligarchy 9 (41%), Autocracy 0 (0%).

Government Type 2023 TD

Total 108, Not Applicable 16 (16%), Unclear 5 (5%), Anarchy 0 (0%), Pure democracy 1 (1%), Representative democracy 38 (35%), Oligarchy 43 (40%), Autocracy 5 (5%).

Read more ➤