Tim Scheidler

TIM SCHEIDLER, who's been with us since June 2011, holds a Master's Degree in Popular Literature from Trinity College Dublin. Tim enjoys many authors, but particularly loves J.R.R. Tolkien, Robin Hobb, George R.R. Martin, Neil Gaiman, and Susanna Clarke. When he’s not reading, Tim enjoys traveling, playing music, writing in any shape or form, and pretending he's an athlete.

Sunday Status Update: July 15, 2018

Jana: This week I was ridiculously busy, but I did manage to read Emily Skrutskie's Hullmetal Girls, a YA milSF novel chock-full of strong female characters, and I started reading RJ Barker's Blood of Assassins, the first sequel to Age of Assassins (and since the t... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 8, 2018

And some more great reads this week!

Kat: Because they were nominated for the Hugo Award for Best Series, in the past few weeks I've been reading all of Seanan McGuire's INCRYPTID novels. I also read the latest of Elliott JamesPAX ARCANA novel, Legend Has It... Read More

Sunday Status Update: July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day!

Sandy: Moi? I have just finished reading my first Doc Savage novel since I was in high school, 1933’s Quest of the Spider, and hope to get a review out for you very soon. Next up for me will be a book of stories featuring another pulp character who is not nearly as well remembered as Doc Savage; namely, the Surgeon of Souls, who appeared in seven stories throughout the 1930s in the pulp magazine Spicy Mysteries. The collection is appropriately titled The Surgeon of Souls and Other Tales of Terror, by Robert Leslie Bellem, and I look forward to getting into this one very much indeed…

Tadiana: In the last two weeks I've read  Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 24, 2018

Another week, more books!

Jana: Last week I mentioned that I was starting Claire Legrand's Furyborn and Ausma Zehanat Khan's The Bloodprint, and this week I made the tough decision to DNF both of them. Furyborn because it was a pale imitation of far too many other YA fantasy novels out there, and The Bloodprint because I couldn't connect with the characters. It's possible that I might like The Bloodprint more if I tried it again sometime in the future, though. But sitting on my desk is  Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 17, 2018

As ever, we're reading plenty of new books, and preparing our reviews!

This week was mostly reading a lot of hiking books. But I did manage the flawed but often brilliant An Unkindness of Ghosts, by Rivers Solomon and the flawed but often gorgeously written Time Was by Ian McDonald. Media-wise, I continue to be pleasantly surprised and impressed with the narrative risks Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger is taking, this week with a non-linear structure filled with visions and symbol, and the continued slow-walking of the two main characters’ relationship. The Expanse was a bit more choppy this week, but any scenes with Miller are sheer joy, and the same with Amo... Read More

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr: Weird, elegiac, lovely

Readers’ average rating:

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr by John Crowley

Ka: Dar Oakley in the Ruin of Ymr (2017) is a brilliant novel. It is lovely, eerie, and heartachingly elegiac. It is also deeply weird.

I want the reader to understand me perfectly here. When I say "weird," I do not mean it's experimental, or iconoclastic, or that you'll feel awkward explaining to your friends why you wanted to read a book about a magic bird. All of those things might be true (to greater or lesser degrees), but they feel trivial when applied to Ka. This book is weird, in both the new definitions and also the older sense that implies something like "uncanny." The experience of reading this novel is like dreaming. There's the sense of progression, of ordinary storylines going about their business, but there's also a sense of unreality, of places where logic simply ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 10, 2018

Another productive week!

Bill: This week I read a solid but flawed YA fantasy, The Language of Spells, by Garret Weyr, as well as Hannu Rajaniemi’s more enjoyable but not riveting Summerland.  Keeping up with my “one old TBR book for every two new ones,” I’ve started Fred Cahppell’s A Shadow of All Light.  I also finished a disappointing collection of essays by Clinton Crockett Peters, Pandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology. In media, my son and I watched and enjoyed the first two episodes of Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger, which I thought had a nice bit of layered richness and subtlety to it, and I appreciated the slow movement toward bringing the two young protagonists together. The Expanse is still... Read More

Edgedancer: Snappy and surefooted

Readers’ average rating:

 by Brandon Sanderson

I've always been a sucker for an enfant terrible. The Peter Pans and Pippi Longstockings of the literary world would be hugely annoying if they actually showed up in the real world, of course, but in fiction it's a fun archetype. Brandon Sanderson's Edgedancer (2017) is all about such a character, and so consequently I had a great deal of fun with it. Readers with a lower tolerance for goofball ragamuffins might have a different experience (as per his usual, Sanderson is not content to merely toy with a trope, but totally commits), but I think that for most, this will be a charming read.

Edgedancer is a sidestory in the broader ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: June 3, 2018

As we roll on toward summer, we're reading a whole new crop of books.

Bill: This week I decided I was going to try and read one old book off my long-ago TBR shelf for every one or two relatively new or unpublished ones I finish. So I read two excellent new non-fiction works: Origin Story: A Big History of Everything by David and Chasing New Horizons: Inside the Epic First Mission to Pluto by Alan Stern and David Grinspoon (their sub-titles pretty much tell you what they are about), and then followed them up with the unfortunately disappointing The Eterna Files by Leanna Renee Hieber. Currently I’m about a quarter of the way through a collection of essays by Clinton Crockett Peters, Pandora’s Garden: Kudzu, Cockroaches, and Other Misfits of Ecology. So far mixed feelings... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 27, 2018

Some great reads this week!

Bill: In fantasy/sci fi this week, along with some short fiction you’ll see reviewed Monday, I also read Raymond E. Feist’s King of Ashes, a solid if somewhat familiar start to a new series called THE FIREMANE SAGA. Outside the genre, I finished Catherine Nixey’s interesting if too-long condemnation of the Christian “triumph” over the pagans,The Darkening Age; David Sedaris’ newest collection of essays Calypso (a mixed bag but overall I’d recommend it); and a whole bunch of readings about maps as I finished up an essay on the topic. In media, I watched the finale for Marvel: Agents of Shield, which worked as both a season and a series’ close, but I was glad to see it picked up for a new (shorter) season since I think the show’s last two years have been pa... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 20, 2018

Another week has passed, which means...


Bill: This week I read Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, a debut YA novel that in many ways was overly-familiar in plotting and character, but that I’m still recommending due to its excellent presentation of theme and its relatively unique setting and background mythos, which are both African-based. I also finished Menno Schithuizen’s Darwin Comes to Town, an excellent examination of urban eco-systems and how cities are driving a fast-paced evolution of creatures and plants. And I’m just about three-quarters of the way through Catherine Nixey’s The Darkening Age, which looks at early Christians’ physical destruction of the classical world — its statues, writings, temples, etc. It’s vividly told, though a bit repetitive.  Finally, I also read... Read More

Grey Sister: A solid follow-up

Readers’ average rating:  

Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Grey Sister, second novel in Mark Lawrence's BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR series, is a good follow-up to its predecessor. It's not a perfect novel, but on the whole it's exciting, well-written, and very gripping.

Since the last installment in the series, two years have passed, and Nona Grey is still a novice at the convent of Sweet Mercy. Her classes -- and her magical abilities -- have continued apace, teaching her to be deadlier than ever, but two years have brought her no closer to avenging her friend Hessa or recovering the convent's prized Ship Heart. Instead, Nona once again finds herself facing more typical schoolgirl problems such as sneering bullies and difficult exams. But just as it seems that her adventuring days might be behind her, she finds herself caught up in the long-gestating pla... Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 13, 2018

More great books this week!


Bill: Much of this past week was spent finishing (finishing—yay!) final papers, now let the summer reading season commence!  I read and absolutely loved Circe, Madeline Miller’s retelling/reshaping of Greek myth while One Pagan’s Strange Survivors was a solid popular science book. Currently I’m reading Darwin Comes to Town by Menno Schilthuizen, a so far fascinating look at evolution centered on urban ecology.

Jana: This week I hosted a Very Important Guest (hi, Mom!) and didn't have a lot of spare time for reading. I did finish  Read More

Sunday Status Update: May 6, 2018

Even more books this week!

Jana: This week was pretty productive, reading-wise! I was swept away by Kat Howard's Roses and Rot, utterly charmed by  Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 29, 2018

Another week, more books!

Bill: Like Kat I’m buried in final papers (only 70 more!). But also like Marion, as soon as  Foundryside showed up on my Kindle I blew off a night of work to read it.  She’s right—it doesn’t disappoint at all, as we’ll elaborate on in an upcoming joint review soon. My other act of self-indulgence was to exit my last class and immediately hit the theater ten minutes later to see the new Avengers movie with my family (And I did not pull my son from his last period in order to do so. As a teacher I would never do that. Ever. Really. That’s the story I’m sticking with). My son and I are also happy The Expanse and Westworld have returned, both pleasing in different fashion. Finally, on audio I finished Walter Isaacson’s excellent biography of Leonardo da Vinci and have just started listening to Beha... Read More

Kings of the Wyld: Getting the band back together

Readers’ average rating:

Reposting to include Tim's new review.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

When Clay Cooper returns home from work to find his old friend, Gabriel, waiting on him, he knows something is wrong. He learns that Gabe's headstrong daughter has run off to be a mercenary and ended up in a city besieged by an overwhelming horde of monsters. Gabe is now desperate to get their "band," Saga, back together and go save her. Saga used to be the most famous mercenary band ever. Tales of Slowhand Clay, Golden Gabe, Arcandius Moog, Matrick Skulldrummer, and Ganelon are still told in the pubs throughout the kingdom to this day.

However, that was many years ago, and they're no longer the young men they used to be. Clay, in particular, has happily retired to a quiet life in the country with his wife and daughter. So, with great reluctance Clay turns his best friend down. But later, wh... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 22, 2018

Another week has passed already, and we did plenty of reading.

Jana: This week I finished both Bryan Camp's The City of Lost Fortunes (review to come) and Kim Stanley Robinson's Aurora (a bit slow-going, but still good), along with Adrie... Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 15, 2018

We've had an interesting week of reading!

Jana: This week I was a bit more of a tortoise than a hare, and ended up getting a bunch more of my outstanding reviews knocked out (hooray!) as well as a few of my TBR books actually read, which was a great feeling. I read Emma Newman's Before Mars (and loved it),  Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 8, 2018

Plenty of cool books this week!

Jana: This week my weather was (mostly) cooperative, so I spent a lot of it outside, digging up weeds and thinking about flower seeds. I've been re-reading Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor's second NIGHT VALE novel, It Devours! Read More

Sunday Status Update: April 1, 2018

Happy Easter, everyone! We read a lot of great books this week, and... agh! Help! Strangled by sweaty Cimmerian arm!

                              (Happy April Fool's, too)

Batman: Field report for March: Best month in a long time. I shattered 47 arms, 83 kneecaps, 112 jaws, and 38 collarbones of criminal scum this month. Defeated Poison Ivy with a weed-whacker and a tire iron. Crippled Two-Face's organization simply by hacking his phone. Pointed and laughed at Killer Moth until he ran home crying, delusions of criminal overlordship forgotten. Yes, March has been good to me. I deserved a good month, after Februrary. Note that this journal is the only place where the incident involving the Joker and Valentine's Day is still recorded. I have destroyed all other records, and sworn Robin to secrecy. He still giggles at me sometimes. Considering memory modification.
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Sunday Status Update: March 25, 2018

Plenty of fun books were read this week!

Kat: I'm reading Josiah Bancroft's BOOKS OF BABEL. The first one, Senlin Ascends, was extremely entertaining and excellently written. Now I'm partway through the second, Arm of the Sphinx, which is maintaining the high quality of the first book. Also, the audiobook productions are wonderful. Reviews are coming soon.

Marion: I’m about two-thirds of the way through Andrea Hairston’s Will Do Magic for Small Change which I am enjoying. The present-tense (1987) story is fun but the part set in Dahomey, France and the US at the cusp of the 19th and 20th centuries is fascinating.  I also started Jerusalem; the Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore, a well-written history of this historic city.
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La Belle Sauvage: A companion to HIS DARK MATERIALS

Readers’ average rating: 

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

I always find it a little nerve-wracking when an author returns to a successful series after a long time away. There's always the fear, for me at least, that one of two things is going to happen: either the author will be nostalgic about the original work to the extent that s/he makes the new book into a fawning tribute without substance, or the author will have changed enough in the time between installments that the magic is just gone. I'm happy to say, though, that Philip Pullman's new novel dispels both of those fears. La Belle Sauvage (2017) is, though not quite as much a game-changer as The Golden Compass, still a fantastic novel in its own righ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 18, 2018

Our reviewers have a few books on the burner this week!

Bill: This week I read in order of preference:

A Veil of Spears by Bradley P. Beaulieu, a strong third book in an excellent series.
I, Mammal by Liam Drew, a fascinating look at how mammalian traits evolved into their present form
The Tangled lands by Paolo Bacigalupi and Tobias S. Buckell, a sequential series of four novellas in a shared world. I liked Bacigalupi’s better than Buckell’s, but overall enjoyed the world and the sharp metaphor that underpins it
White Sand Volume 2, second in a graphic series by Brandon Sanderson that has mostly disappointed to this point in both story and artwork
Dayfall by Michael David Ares, a debut I gave 100 pages to ... Read More

Sunday Status Update: March 4, 2018

Plenty more books this week!

Bill: I read and reviewed (a bit less favorably than Marion) The Sky is Yours by Chandler Klang Smith. I also finished Game of Thrones and the Medieval Art of War by Ken Mondschein (review to come) and Our Senses by Rob DeSalle (good if a bit dry). On audio, I finally reached the end of Yuval Harari’s excellent Sapiens, and have begun Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Isaacson. TV time suffered this week thanks to papers, so no genre shows or movies.

Kat: This week I read Godslayer by  Read More

Sunday Status Update: February 25, 2018

And more books were read!

Marion: I finished Too Like the Lightning, by John W. Campbell Award winner Ada Palmer, and Seven Surrenders, the sequel. I hope to have a review of the second one done soon. I am about three chapters into The Will to Battle, which is the final volume. I took a couple of breaks to read essays in Rebecca Solnit’s Men Explain Things to Me, and a couple of stories from  Read More

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