the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for December 2010

Christmas might be over, but everyone needs one last gift, right? How about a free copy of Kaaron Warren’s brand spankin’ new novel Walking the Tree?

Available in January from Angry Robot books, I have a gently read review copy of this book to give away. 

Read my review of Walking the Tree here.   The book didn’t work for me, and I’d like to get my copy into the hands of someone who will enjoy it.

This give away is open to residents of the United States only. If you are interested in winning a copy of Walking the Tree, all you have to do is leave a comment below that includes a way for me to get a hold of you.   A winner will be randomly chosen and announced at the end of next week.  So watch this space and watch your inboxes!


The people of the planet of Botanica live on the island, and they live for and by the tree.  The giant tree, which takes up most of the island, provides food, shade, building materials, and nearly all the resources the people could need. Lillah and her friends have come of age, which means it is time to leave her village (known as Orders) of Ombu with her school.  While this is a huge opportunity for the children to learn how things are done in other orders and trade skills and gifts, it will be the teachers only opportunity for courting and finding husbands.  For five years, the school will travel the island.

Rhizo, a village woman, asks Lillah to take her son, Morace with her in the school.  Rhizo thinks she may have the wasting disease known as Spikes, and fears for the life and health of her son.  Rhizo exacts a promise from Lillah that not only will she protect Morace and his secret, but that she will deliver him to Rhizo’s family in a far flung Order. This puts Lillah in a very difficult situation – even if she finds an order she wants to stay at, she can’t leave the school until she gets Morace to his family.  Beyond finding a husband and protecting Morace, Lillah hopes to find her estranged mother as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

fun stuff first!

In the pipeline is:

– Review of Kaaron Warren’s Walking the Tree. I pursuaded my other half to read this book as well, so I’m hoping for a he said/she said joint review. Walking The Tree will be available in January from Angry Robot Books.

– A give away of a gently read copy of Warren’s Walking the Tree.  I’ve never done a giveaway before, so I’m excited to see how it works out.

Spotlight on an indie press, a review, and possibly another giveaway.

What’s the photo for the mac and cheese all about? mmm…. comfort food. read all about it after the jump.


Read the rest of this entry »


Behold!  LRR’s end of year listy thing!  (Yay peer pressure!)

Favorite book of 2010: Zoo City by Lauren Beukes.  Words can not describe how much I loved this book. It turned me into a blabbering fangirl.

Favorite newly discovered author of 2010Joe Abercrombie.  Okay, so his First Law trilogy was published before 2010, but I read, no, I devoured this trilogy during the second half of 2010.  this is the uncut good shit.

Best twist in a SF/F novel:  Mark Hodder’s Springheeled Jack. If you’ve read it you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t read it,  you still have a few days of vacation left, so what are you waiting for?

Favorite newly discovered character is a  Big ole tie between:  Joe Abercrombie’s Sand dan Glotka, Lauren Beukes’ Zinzi December, and Mike Resnick’s Doc Holliday. Me, have a weakness for tragic characters? no way!

Favorite graphic novel Rising Stars by J. Michael Strazcynski.  It’s not new, but it was new to me.

Favorite Manga:  Nana, by Ai Yazawa.  I love Shojo.  Who knew?

Book most looking forward to in 2011: Wise Man’s Fear, by Patrick Rothfuss

what were your favorites for 2011?

Matt Smith christmas carol

as in:  “We better christmas carol that bastard before it’s too late”.

He didn’t actually say that, but he could’ve.  You know Amy would have.

First thoughts on my very first nearly the same time as everyone else Doctor Who Christmas Special: It was far better than I expected, is Amy preggers, and Matt Smith is very, very slowly growing on me, helped by his appearance on Graham Norton. Fish Fingers and custard anyone?  I’m starting to like Matt Smith, but I LOVE David Tennant.


there were a ton of ads for “Doctor Who is coming to America!”, which looked frighteningly cheesy and screamed of pandering. Ugghh, I’m nervous. And I have to wait till spring???  what gives?

My shopping list for the week includes much in the way of blue: some sturdy blue fabric, a few sheets of that blue flat craft foamy stuff, and a silver fabric pen. Because I know how to make something that’s bigger on the inside than it is on the outside, something that can take me anywhere I want to go, AND it’s sometimes small enough to fit in my pocket.

  First things first, I adore Doc Holliday. 

Second things second, Mike Resnick’s The Buntline Special just might be the most fun I’ve had all year. Equal parts clever, crazy, snarky and suspensful, if you are looking for a good time here’s a book you can’t go wrong with.

In an alternate history style reminiscent of Tim Powers, Resnick takes what we know happened (or at least what probably happened), and adds in that magical, wonderful science fiction question of “what if”. His answer includes cyborg women, assassins brought back from the dead, Native American magic, horseless carriages, inventors with too much time on their hands and all the fun you can have in the Wild Wild West. It’s not the deepest book I’ve ever read, but sometimes girls just wanna have fun.

In thing only slighty alternate history 1880’s, Thomas Edison has a rockin’ steampunk prosthetic arm and works with Ned Buntline in the town of Tombstone to create horseless carriages, fancy weaponry, brass body armor, cyborgs, and all sorts of other wacky inventions. What Tom thinks up, Ned creates. They’ve brought the electricity revolution to Tombstone. Secretly the inventors have been funded by the US Government to find a scientific way of counteracting the medicine men of the tribes, whose magic has kept the white men from expanding their country past the Mississippi river.

Read the rest of this entry »

You don’t read VanderMeer, you experience it, you swim through it, you breathe it, you smell it.  anyone who knows me knows that is one of the highest compliments I can give anything.  I made my way through The Third Bear, sometimes meandering, sometimes biting my nails, sometimes swimming through the salty surf.  Wherever VanderMeer took me, it wasn’t where I was expected. Most of these stories start out light if strange, and then the light turns to dark and the strange only gets perfectly stranger. They are startling and surreal, and much Lovecraftian deliciousness abounds.

So spoiled on epic series and 800+ page books, it’s no surprise I often have a tough time with short stories. What happened before? what happens next? who are these people? where the hell are we?  I don’t know what specifically I need for a short story to work for me, but I know VanderMeer does it.  Most of the stories contained in The Third Bear are told in first person, often by people who are at a crossroads – they’ve done something horrible, or they are about to.

I was happily surprised at how much of The Third Bear worked for me. On the rare occasion that I do pick up a book of short stories, I expect a bell curve of enjoyment: a few stories will knock my socks off, most of them will be OK, and a few will suck.  The Third Bear worked out pretty much like this: One entry didn’t do it for me, and the rest knocked my socks off to one extent or another. There is a reason I can’t say no to Jeff VanderMeer.

Read the rest of this entry »

by popular request, here is that recipe for Pumpkin biscuits that I’ve been teasing everyone with.  Not exactly biscuits, not exactly cookies or scones. . . . but quick & easy, perfect for breakfast, and not horribly unheathy.   And they warm you up on cold winter mornings!

Pumpkin Biscuits

Makes about 20
preheat oven to 350, grease or line a cookie sheet.

dry ingredients
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp powdered ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar

wet ingredients
1 cup canned pureed pumpkin
2 tbsp canola oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
about 1/3 cup chocolate chips (or more!)

whisk together dry ingredients in a big bowl. add all the wet ingredients, then mix very well. drop by heaping tablespoon onto cookies sheets and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. let cool on racks. makes about 20.

Sorry I haven’t got a photo of the finished product, we ate them all!

This is part two of a possibly three part series about why I just don’t jive with e-readers. Read part one, which covered the right half of the pie chart here.   We now move over the left half. . . . See that entire left side of the pie chart? I can totally relate to Yomiko Readman of the Read or Die manga (the manga kinda sucks, but I love her character).

Behind all the feet and latex gloves and sexual definitions of the word “fetish” lies its original meaning:

An object of unreasonably excessive attention or reverence, and/or believed to have magical or spiritual powers.

Do I believe books have magical or spiritual powers? I feel mentally comforted when I am around them, and when I feel the need to be somewhere safe, my first thought is the library. I’ll let you decide if I answered Yes or No.

Read the rest of this entry »


  Xulai (Shoo-Lie, rhymes with July. Isn’t that a cool name??) lives as a servant in the household of Duke Justinian and his Tingawan wife Princess Xu-i-Lok. After they were married and the Princess learned she had been cursed, they requested a soul carrier from her Tingawan homeland. Xulai is that soul carrier. Appearing as a child of seven or eight, Xulai’s only use in life is to be with the Princess when she dies (which could be any moment), and then return to Tingawa with the Princess’s soul. In the meantime, Xulai is taught and protected by Precious Wind, who came with her from Tingawa, and Bear, a Tingawan Warrior. Early on, when we first meet Xulai, she is approached by an unusual traveler, Abasio, and his even more unusual talking horse, Blue. Abasio and Blue will prove to be the best part of the story. 

The Princess does die, and she does give her soul (and something else) to Xulai. Tingawa lies across the sea, and it is decided the safest way to get there is to travel to the southern end of the continent to a port city where a Tingawan ship is waiting. It is of the utmost importance that Xulai reach Tingawa. But the roads are dangerous, and on the way they stop at the abbey, which seems more a center of population than a religious center. There is corruption afoot, as the Queen of the realm, Mirami, and her daugher, Alicia, are constantly fighting each other for power. When Precious Wind and Abasio learn they have been betrayed at the abbey, the party continues south, even more cautious than before.

Much of the plot revolves around the journey south and avoiding Mirami, Alicia, and their mentor the Dark Old Man. Xulai may appear as a child, but she is older than she looks. In fact, many of the characters are not what they appear to be. Once Xulai discovers who and what she is, plans must be laid to keep the truth safe. Read the rest of this entry »

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,617 other subscribers
Follow the Little Red Reviewer on



FTC Stuff

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.