the Little Red Reviewer

so many pretties came in the mail recently.  i want to pet them and snuggle with them. (oh, these are for reading, not snuggling, you say? I can read AND snuggle! so there! Osmosis totally works, right?)

What looks good to you?

From Nightshade Books:

cash crash

Cash Crash Jubilee, May 2015, debut novel from Eli K. P. William (looks pretty cool! I dig the cover art, and it sounds like a fun read)

what it’s all about:

In a near future Tokyo, every action—from blinking to sexual intercourse—is intellectual property owned by corporations that charge licensing fees. A BodyBank computer system implanted in each citizen records their movements from moment to moment, and connects them to the audio-visual overlay of the ImmaNet, so that every inch of this cyber-dystopian metropolis crawls with information and shifting cinematic promotainment.

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Emissary, by Betsy Dornbusch April 2015 (emissaryThis is the 2nd book in a series. That alone takes it off my priority list, since i haven’t read the 1st book)

What it’s all about:

Draken vae Khellian, bastard cousin of the Monoean King, had risen far from his ignominious origins, becoming both a Bowrank Commander and a member of the Crown’s Black Guard. But when cursed black magic took his wife and his honor away, he fought past his own despair and grief, and carved out a new life in Akrasia. His bloody, unlikely path, chronicled in Exile: The First Book of the Seven Eyes, led him to a new love, and a throne.

Draken has seen too much blood . . . the blood of friends and of enemies alike. Peace is what he wants. Now he must leave his wife and newborn child in an attempt to forge an uneasy peace between the Monoean King and the kingdom of Akrasia. The long bloody shadow of Akrasia’s violent past hangs over his efforts like a shroud. But there are other forces at work. Peace is not something everybody wants . . . not even in the seemingly straightforward kingdom of Draken’s birth.

 

From the friendly folks at Pyr:

superposition

Superposition, by David Walton, April 2015. Sorry for the crappy photo, this is some striking cover art that didn’t come through very well.

what it’s all about: Jacob Kelley’s family is turned upside down when an old friend turns up, waving a gun and babbling about an alien quantum intelligence. The mystery deepens when the friend is found dead in an underground bunker…apparently murdered the night he appeared at Jacob’s house. Jacob is arrested for the murder and put on trial.

As the details of the crime slowly come to light, the weave of reality becomes ever more tangled, twisted by a miraculous new technology and a quantum creature unconstrained by the normal limits of space and matter. With the help of his daughter, Alessandra, Jacob must find the true murderer before the creature destroys his family and everything he loves.

 

From my friends at Tachyon Publications:

HannuCollected Fiction of Hannu Rajaniemi, May 2015. (Now this one, I’m super interested in. His novels intimidate me, but anyone can read a few short stores, right?)

what it’s all about: Inside the firewall the city is alive. Buildings breathe, cars attack, angels patrol, and hyper-intelligent pets rebel. Again, apologies for the fuzzy photo.

With unbridled invention and breakneck adventure, Hannu Rajaniemi is on the cutting-edge of science fiction. His post-apocalyptic, post-cyberpunk, and post-human tales are full of exhilarating energy and unpredictable optimism.

How will human nature react when the only limit to desire is creativity? When the distinction between humans and gods is as small as nanomachines—or as large as the universe? Whether the next big step in technology is 3D printing, genetic alteration, or unlimited space travel, Rajaniemi writes about what happens after.

 

There was also an envelope from Tor. what was inside it? A finished copy of Icefall, by Gillian Philip! I now have three (yes, three!) copies of this book! Anyone want one? the ARC and US version are up for grabs. the UK one stays with me forever, as it was a gift.

three icefalls

 

 

icefall gillian philipIcefall, by Gillian Philip (Rebel Angels #4)

published March 24th

where I got: received ARC from the publisher (Thanks Tor!)

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Icefall is the fourth and final book in Gillian Philip’s Rebel Angels series, which means this review has unavoidable spoilers for the first three books.

 

the non-spoilery part of this review is: I absolutely love the characters in these books. Seth, Finn, Rory, Jed, Hannah, everyone, even the bad guys. Philip portrays them with such effortless ease that you yearn to fall deeper into their histories and futures, and her writing style offers an addicting and compelling reading experience. When it comes to satisfaction, this series delivers.  And let’s not forget the feels. Heartbreak, betrayal, deception, emotional torment, starcrossed lovers and families torn apart, Philip could teach your favorite epic fantasy authors a thing or two about kicking readers in the feels. And the way she does it? You’ll willingly take the punch to the feels. In fact, she’ll have you  begging for it.

 

The Sithe know the veil is dying. The elusive boundary between their world and ours, what will happen when the veil ceases to exist? Queen Kate NicNiven has paid a terrible price to guarantee the veil ends on her terms, but she’s missing a few pieces yet needed to seal the deal. Seth MacGregor and his clann have been been living in exile on our side of the veil. Not the worlds best father by a long shot, Seth is raising and protecting his half-mortal son Rory as best he can. No one really knows what exactly will happen when the veil fails. Well, a few people have an idea of what might happen, but they’re not talking.

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I haven’t gotten as much reading done lately as I would have like (workaholic + dayjob equals not enough hours in the day), but I’ve gotten some reading done. And hubby and I bought some books too!

icefall arcI recently finished Icefall by Gillian Philip. This is the fourth and last  book in her Rebel Angels series. It’s a Fey Urban Fantasy. Basically, the veil that separates the human world and the otherworld is breaking down. Should it be repaired? should it be torn down and the worlds combined? The Fae queen will do anything to destroy it, and Seth (who she names traitor) will do anything to protect the reputation of his brother, among other things. A series full of feels, passionate characters, betrayal, secret children and parentage, more secrets, long grudges, power plays, and did I mention feels? I gotta find time to review this baby, because yeah. Such a bittersweet ending. Such a fun, enjoyable, satisfying, braincandy bunch of books. Urban Fantasy and kicks in the feels For the Win.

but in the meantime, important question! which do you like better? the UK cover art, or the US cover art?

Icefall UK Cover Art

Icefall UK Cover Art

Icefall US cover art

Icefall US cover art

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Brides story 3 and 4

Hubby and I are also working our way (ok, my way. he’s already finished all of them!) through A Bride’s Story, a manga by Kaoru Mori. I recently finished volumes 3 and 4, and I told hubby he was responsible for starting the discussion. these middle volumes start out so tragic, and then change gears to go towards the humorous. So many changes in feels! so many!

king maker brauddus

I’m about halfway through King Maker, by Maurice Broaddus. It’s a retelling of the King Arthur mythos, relocated to inner city Indianapolis. Reading this really has me rethinking about scenes that i’m ok with in low fantasy/epic fantasy, but that i probably shouldn’t be OK with. here’s to hoping I can finish this book over the weekend.

Once I finish King Maker, I’ll be diving into Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson:

Aurora KSRAs soon as this beautiful ARC arrived in the mail, the hubby claimed it, and dove right it. I know he liked it, because he finished it in like three days. I asked him to tell me something about it without giving any spoilers, and he said “it’s like the High Frontier board-game”. um, ok. the game does have the most amazing board, so there’s that.

and then we purchased some goodies too – The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu translated by Ken Liu, and the Upgraded anthology edited by Neil Clarke (seriously, if it’s got Clarke’s name on it, I’m going to buy it. because duh)

three bodyupgraded

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Hubby needs to read The Three-Body Problem before I do, because that book intimidates the shit out of me. (I know it shouldn’t intimidate me, but it just does. ok?) on a happier note, do you see that Julie Dillon cover art on Upgraded? See how awesome she is? Now go back her new Kickstarter. Because she’s like, freaking awesome.

 

hmm…. and that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  How about you? read anything good lately? purchased or libraried or otherwise acquired anything interesting lately?

the mechanical tregillisThe Mechanical, by Ian Tregillis

Published March 10th, 2015

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher (thanks Orbit!)

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in an alternate history where the Dutch scientist and mathematician  Christiaan Huygens made more than just clocks and lenses, the world was changed forever when his clockwork servitors were perfected. These Clockwork servants, owned by the Crown and leased to the populace on 99 year leases, allowed the Dutch Empire to expand their control over trading posts, exploration, and world politics. Of course you’ll come to rule the world when you have an unlimited workforce that never sleeps, doesn’t have to eat, and never complains, and mechanical soldiers who never die.

 

Hundreds of years have gone by since the Guild of Horologists was created in 1680. America never existed, the Dutch never gave up New Amsterdam (which you know as Manhattan), and France is in shambles after a disastrous war, with much of the French nobility living in Montreal with their exiled King.

 

In an alternate history that never was, physics and chemistry fight horology and alchemy for control of the belief structure of the modern world. I’ll leave the plot chat to other reviewers, because I want to talk about everything that’s happening in The Mechanical underneath the plot, things like Tregillis’s genius treatment of chemistry vs alchemy,  warring philosophies over free will and identity, and the intersection of faith and compulsion.

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land of love and drowningThe Land of Love and Drowning, by Tiphanie Yanique

published in 2014

where i got it: purchased new

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A cross hatching of mythology and consequence, Land of Love and Drowning is a family drama on the surface. Scratch away just a few layers and you find a family whose legacy is based on shattering secrets, children who know they are capable of doing horrible things, and a culture forced to a precipice. On the Caribbean island of St. Thomas lives the Bradshaw family, and their unmaking will becoming their making.

 

The Danish West Indies have just become the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Bradshaw family of St. Thomas is about to suffer two tragedies. Mrs. Bradshaw will give birth to a second daughter, and Mr. Bradshaw will drown when his ship goes down.  Raised in luxury, older daughter Eeona attended finishing school, and knows how to walk, talk and pour tea like a proper lady.  her beauty is known throughout the islands, and at first the suitors were quite literally lined up down the block. Hers is a beauty that can sink ships. The man she loves will never, and can never marry her, and when her father drowns, the suitors see a desperate fatherless daughter instead of the daughter of a shipping magnate.  Offered a chance to finally make her own living, Mrs. Bradshaw takes her fashionable wares to America, to get her own contracts. She comes home ill and dying. Within the year, the sisters are orphaned and destitute.  Eeona wants only what her father promised her, and baby Anette is too young to want anything at all.

 

Just as much as the story follows the family drama of the Bradshaw family, it follows the history of the island of St. Thomas of the Virgin Islands. In the early 1900s, the islands of St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John were literally sold to the United States, ceased to be the Danish West Indies and became the U.S. Virgin Islands. What could America bring to the islands, besides citizenship? How about Prohobition, a war, racism, sleazy movies, and capitalism, just to start.

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break the demon gateYamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate, by Richard Parks

published in 2014

where I got it: purchased new

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Historical fiction about a time and place I don’t know much about combined with mystery, ghosts, demons, and political intrigue? Sign me up. As much as I love my space opera and low fantasy, I grew up reading historical fiction, and historical works have a very special place in my heart. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Richard Parks’ short stories, so I was curious to read one of his novels.

 

Yamada Monogatari: To Break the Demon Gate by Richard Parks takes place in 11th century Japan.  Yamada no Goji is a minor nobleman, lately welcomed at the palace compound, but since the loss of Princess Teiko, he has avoided crossing paths with the nobility.  What was the secret she was willing to die for? Was someone blackmailing her? And the larger concern is the safety of her son, Emperor Takahito. The power of the Fujiwara clan is rising, how far will they go to ensure one of their own sits upon the throne?

 

(quick language lesson: Monogatari translates to story, tale, or narrative)

 

The opening chapters of To Break the Demon Gate are just beautiful. Characters send metaphor laden poetry back and forth to each other, and this art of courtly poetry was a real thing in the court of the Heian period. Inflection, rhythm, symbology, and how it all came together in a very short verse was just as important as the information carried therein.  Many of the poems are explained, but I enjoyed trying to figure out the symbology before Yamada explained it to me. Colorful poetry aside, this was a very formal environment, with no room for public displays of affection. In these early chapters, it is implied that Yamada and Princess Teiko have a history, but exactly what that history is is never spe Read the rest of this entry »

tim-wardYou probably know today’s guest from the podcast Adventures in SciFi Publishing, SFSignal, and his social presence on twitter.

Timothy C. Ward is a former Executive Producer for Adventures in SciFi Publishing. His debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution, blends Dune with Alien in a thriller where sand divers uncover death and evolution within America’s buried fortresses. Sign up to his author newsletter for a free ebook copy of Scavenger: Evolution before it releases, March 31. His first printed story, “The Bomb in the President’s Bathroom,” released in the Amish SciFi anthology, Tales from Pennsylvania. You can find reviews to the books mentioned above on his Goodreads page.

If you’re a fan of Hugh Howey, you’re sure to be interested in Scavenger: Evolution, as Howey is allowing fans to write in his Sand world.  Tim was kind enough to answer a few of my questions about his new novel. Scroll to the bottom for information on a give away!

LRR: Congratulations on the upcoming release of your debut novel, Scavenger: Evolution. What’s the quick pitch for the new novel?

TCW: In an America covered in sand, a sand diver will find treasure in a buried military base which will force him to evolve or lose everything.

LRR: Scavenger: Evolution takes place in Hugh Howey’s world of Sand. Isn’t that fairly unusual, to be able to write in someone else’s universe? How did you go about getting Howey’s permission to use his world?

Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Hugo Awards

I reviewed some Hugo nominated stuff. Click here for the list.

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some of the books reviewed here were free ARCs supplied by publishers/authors/other groups. Some of the books here I got from the library. the rest I *gasp!* actually paid for. I'll do my best to let you know what's what.