the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for September 2010

Why should you consider shopping for books at Estates Sales?

1. Books are expensive!
2. You’re already a fan of the used book market.
3. Older and out of print titles are near impossible to find.
4. You enjoy a treasure hunt from time to time.

And check out what I got today, all for less than three bucks!

Celi.a, Do you see what’s in that pile? It must be destiny, it must!
Learn more about the do’s and don’t of scoring great book finds at Estate Sales after the jump! And of course, the sniff test!

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This is book 2 in Swann’s Apotheosis series. To read my review of the first book in the series, Prophets, click here. The 3rd book in the series, Messiah, is due out early next year.

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As the second book in S. Andrew Swann’s Apotheosis series, Heretics keeps the action going, along with healthy doses of intrigue, betrayal, destruction, and an unkillable bad guy armed with self replicating nanomachines.

As the crew members of the Eclipse try to regroup, all hell is breaking loose around them. Along with Mosasa, Mercenaries Parvi and Wahid, and lowly data analyst Rebecca have been taken hostage on the Caliphate ship The Prophet’s Voice, while the rest of the crew, including Nickolai, Father Mallory, and Kugara have made it to the surface of Salmagundi, where they team up with Flynn/Tetsami and the Protean construct.

When Adam confronts Mosasa on The Voice, they both know only one can survive, and facing Adam’s unparalleled strength, how can Mosasa hope to survive? Setting himself up as a God, Adam promises paradise and unrivaled power to those who join him, and instant death to those who don’t.

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Weren’t all the BBAW interviews fun? I thought they were a blast, and it’s going to take me a good two weeks to get through all of them.

Wednesday was Forgotten Treasures day, where we showcase a book or author we wish got more attention in blogging world. I’m just getting to it now, better late than never!

The author I’d like to bring your attention to is Steven Brust, and his Vlad Taltos series.

Started in the early 80’s with Jhereg, this series currenly has 12 books, with plans for 19 in total. Omygosh, twelves books, with seven more coming??? Don’t worry, most of these are in the range of 300 pages, and some are novella length. A few of the early books are available in one volume, The Book of Jhereg, which I highly, highly recommend.

Of the twelves books that are currently available, I think I have read eight or nine.

The main character is Vlad Taltos, and he’s a, uhh, umm. . . he kills people for a living.

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Once upon a time, long before my husband and I were married, after we’d bonded over a shared love for books but before our relationship got serious, he told me this story:

One summer he went camping with a friend and the friends family. The campground was lovely,  lots of space, lots of trails, a lake and a beach. He decided he was going to hit on the beautiful young woman who was sunning herself on the beach. He noticed she was reading, so he took his book too. He gets to the beach, and plops down next to her, book in hand.

Corrected, I’ve now been informed that HE was sitting on the beach reading  FIRST with his book, and SHE came and plopped down next to HIM.  And that she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever met. . .until me of course!

a few minutes go by.

What are you reading? he asked.

Wuthering Heights, she said.

oh. he said.

a few more minutes go by.

What are you reading? she finally asked.

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With reviews of Kraken and the City and the City floating around all over the place, and YA being all the rage, I figured it was time to pull my review of Un Lun Dun out of the archives. This was probably the funniest, goofiest, and most fun I’ve had in a while.

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Un Lun Dun.
UnLunDun
UnLondon.

In Mieville’s first Young Adult novel (he did the illustrations, too), we get his modern fantasy version of Alice in Wonderland meets Wizard of Oz, meets The City of Lost Children, complete with Binja warriors (garbage bins that are ninjas), flying unbrellas who answer only to their master, the Unbrellissimo, trash that stalks you, talking books with guilt complexes, man-eating giraffes, magic bridges, and all other manner of punny good guys and bad guys. It all starts because Deeba is most certainly not the Shwazzy. It is her friend, Zanna; tall, blonde, beatiful Zanna who is the Shwazzy, the chosen one to save UnLondon from The Smog.

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Welcome to Book Bloggers Appreciation Week! I know a lot of blogs do contests and give aways and such, but honestly, I was just super excited to get to know another blogger, and gossip about things we like, coffee (also falling under the category of “things we like”) blogging, and books of course!

Celi.a runs The Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia, and she is super cool blogger and lover of all things yummy.  Read the interview below, then go visit her!

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Can you tell us a little about your blog?

My blog is me…wait, just kidding. It’s me on a good day, with lots of icing on top. So it is basically a book blog, and mostly a YA book blog at that…with a heavy side of sci-fi/fantasy fiction, a little bit of romance, tasty recipes, and sometimes embarrassing (wait, I mean funny) stories.

A blog is a labor of love. What made you decide to take the plunge?

I started the blog as a challenge to myself after a really rough Lenten season where I gave up coffee. I know, I know, not smart. REALLY not smart. It was mostly stories from day-to-day life back then, but it gradually it morphed into its current state of book-focusedness. I just made that word up. Don’t judge. Also, it’s kept me sane during a lot of crazy changes in the last year or two, so I’m going to keep it up for the foreseeable future.

I know you like short stories, what short story should I read, right now, to get me hooked on someone I’ve never heard of before?

Have you read Kelly Link? Anything by Kelly Link is amazing. All of the stories in her anthology Pretty Monsters will do. Seriously weird, though…be ready for that!

Best book you’ve read this year?

Totally cheating on this one. The three best books I’ve read this year: White Cat by Holly Black, Cold Magic by Kate Elliott, and Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal. But keep in mind that I’m seriously behind on my reading, so I probably have several absolutely fantastic novels on my nightstand, and I don’t even know it.

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I’ve been hearing a lot about this K.J. Parker character lately – as in possibly the best kept secret this side of Joe Abercrombie?   Tom Holt interviews the publicity shy K.J. Parker here.  Doubly fascinating for me, as I’ve just started reading Devices and Desires.

Why yes, I AM playing the pronoun game! Because honestly, I’m not sure if this author is a man or a woman.

Plenty more delicious fantabulousness in Subterranean’s latest issue, go check it out. . . they’ve got some Cory Doctorow!

it’s Book Blogger Appreciation Week! Super Cool, and with tons of fun themes and stuff, it’s like a week long party full of books! and reading! and finding other people who like books and reading!

be there or be square! Click on the link above to see other bloggers who are participating.

TEASER!

Tomorrow I’ll be doing something on this blog that I have never done before! Can you guess what it is?

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This post on Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist got me thinking. Not so much about if I think men or women write better men or women, but which I prefer as main characters:  men or women.

As I was listing some favorite books and authors the other day, it dawned on me, I tend to prefer my protagonists to be dudes. I know, I know, it’s not supposed to matter if the character is a man or a woman, it’s just supposed to matter if they are a well written character, with motive, background, thoughts, etc. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved my fair share of characters of the fairer sex, but. . . I’ll take an adventure story starring a Han Solo style character any day and leave the Princess Leia’s to someone else.

Now that I’ve outed myself as the shallowest blogger in the universe (or just a freak), I’ll put the question to you: Which do you prefer, a female protagonist or a male protagonist? 

Inspired by the Small Press/ Independent Books posts on Genre Reader and Fantasy Book Critic, I decided to pull my review of Albert Dalia’s Dream of the Dragon Pool out of the archives. Small Press, but readily available, this should be a must read for fans of historical fiction/fantasy or Asian legends. I think this might have been one of the first true fantasy novels I read, so reading the review again, I laugh at my naive opinions on fantasy.

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At first blush, Dream of the Dragon Pool seems a rather simple narrative following the poet Li Bo on his journey into exile after being expelled by the royal court. Stopping at an ancient dream temple, Li falls into a dangerous quest that he must complete, or face the anger of the spirits.

Li Bo was a real person, one of the most famous poets in Chinese literature. Of central Asian descent, Li Bo was often seen as an outsider. After an attempted coup, he was sent into exile to the southern reaches of the empire. Before reaching Burma, he was invited to return to the capital. Dream of the Dragon Pool is what may have happened during his travels south. Although many of the people and places in the novel have historical context, Dalia does a beautiful job of unique  world building. Where some historical background would usually be helpful, it isn’t needed to enjoy this wonderful tale.

Li is told at the dream temple that he must bring the Dragon Pool Sword to Mount Wu, to be protected by the Spirit who resides there. To accomplish this, Li and his swordsman companion Ah Wu travel down the Yangzte River and through the three gorges (also a real place, The Three Gorges is to this day a dangerous area of the Yangzte River). But they aren’t the only ones who know the Dragon Pool Sword is in transit. The sword is an object of power, can it be protected by a mere mortal?

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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.