the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for March 2011

Don’t forget, today is the last day to get in on the contest to win a copy of The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man,  book two in Mark Hodder’s steampunk/mad science Burton & Swinburne series.

Enter for the give away here.
Read my review of the book here.
Read my review of the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack here.

Contest will close at midnight tonight, eastern standard time.  I’ll announce the winner tomorrow, so watch this space, and watch your e-mail!

last week I finished two books and decided two other books in my “to be read pile” would be give-aways for one reason or another.

I felt so in control of my TBR pile!  it was so in control in fact, that I said out loud to a number of people “my stack of books is under control!”

then I went to the library.  On the way home I checked the mailbox.

TBR pile under control?

I am a damn liar.

Yes, that stack contains brand spankin’ new stuff, old stuff, even library stuff.  cuz that’s how I roll. Read the rest of this entry »

The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, by Mark Hodder

Published March 2011

where I got it: received ARC from the publisher

why I read it: adored the first book in the series, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, reviewed here.

Enter to Win a Copy of The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man, here. Contest is open until March 21.

Welcome to Victorian England, just not the Victorian England you know.  The Queen is dead (so perhaps I should call it Albertian England?), scientists are having a field day with steam powered inventions, eugenicists are having a ball with genetically modified foodstuffs and insects grown to obscene proportions and magic is real.  Well, not magic exactly, but mind control, astral projections, spiritualism, mediumistic techniques to read the future is all very, very real. And it all started back in 1837, when a certain someone had such very good intentions and tried so very hard to fix what had gone horribly wrong.

It’s now 1862, and Sir Richard Francis Burton and his assistant Algernon Swinburne have recovered from the Spring Heeled Jack Affair. The Technologist faction is under control, Isembard Kingdom Brunel has made his new life public, the British government is playing favorites regarding the American War between the states, and Burton continues to be bitter about being passed over for funding for African expeditions.    Although Hodder provides plenty of background information and these are fairly episodic adventures so far, I am reluctant to say you can read The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man as a standalone, as there is a overarching plotline that I believe will become more important than any one adventure.

Hodder  gets the action, adventure, and mystery started right off the bat. Burton and Swinburne investigate an abandoned yet beautifully constructed clockwork man in the middle of a public square, which leads to a theft of famous black diamonds, the untimely death of Charles Babbage, a disturbing  vision of Burton’s future, a homeless philosopher who seems to suffer from multiple personality disorder, the mythology behind the rest of the black diamonds, and a haunted estate. Oh, and fairies, whatever you do, don’t forget the fairies. Read the rest of this entry »

I feel like that should be the name of a hallmark channel movie, “a very shiny clockwork christmas”, or something, don’t you?

Anyways, thanks to the always friendly folks at PYR, I have a beautiful,  very shiny and very lovely copy of Mark Hodder’s The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man to give away.  It really is lovely, and that’s just the cover art! Just wait till you get a load of what’s inside!

Interested in winning a copy of this alternate history steampunk driven,  mad-science brimming,  genetically modified plants weaponized,  clairvoyance mind-control-ized mystery adventure full of twists and turns?  Of course you are!  Just leave a comment that you’re interested, along with a way that I can get in touch with you (website, e-mail, twitter, parakeet address, favorite local indie bookstore that you haunt, twitter handle for author you’re stalking, etc).

Contest is open till end of the day March 21, and the winner will be announced on March 22, the day the book is released.

This giveaway is open to anyone living on Earth. However keep in mind the further away you live from me (I’m in the continental US), the longer it will take for the book to reach you.

My review will be posted in the next little while, so stay tuned!

apologies for the fuzzy photo and hideous carpeting.

Secret Thoughts, by Guy Hasson

Published: 2011 from Apex Books

Where I got it: received eARC for review

why I read it: cuz telepaths are cool!!

In Guy Hasson’s Secret Thoughts, he envisions a near future where telepathy is real. Where through touch, a telepath knows everything you’re thinking, from what you want for dinner to your deepest secrets.  Fiction involving telepathy is nothing new, but rarely have I run into fiction that depicts the discovery and immediate reaction to telepaths from the telepath’s point of view.  With two short stories and a novella, Secret Thoughts focuses on individuals who are dealing with their gifts, and dealing with how the public and the government perceives them.

The three stories should be read in order, as I get the impression they take place in chronological order. The characters are all regular (other than being telepathic) people, and it’s amazing to watch through their eyes how quickly the government goes from being fascinated by telepaths to being horrified by them.  It put me in mind a little bit of the telepath characters from Babylon5 – once a child’s telepathic abilities show up, the government takes control of the child’s future, for better or for worse.

All three stories are incredibly unique and even a day or two after reading I’m still surprised at the deep levels of intimacy, and not just physical intimacy.  But when dealing with deep, pure emotions, what else should I have expected?     Read the rest of this entry »

 Thirteen Years Later, by Jasper Kent

published: Feb 2011, PYR

Where I got it: received review copy from the friendly folks at PYR

why I read it: Loved the first book, Twelve, reviewed here.

  
Apologies in advance for a crappily written review that doesn’t do the book justice.    I’ve had some version of the flu since saturday, and my brain isn’t functioning at all. and that’s before the cold meds.  the super short version:  Thirteen Years Later has a slower pace than Twelve, but has better twists and turns. We get multiple points of view, which is nice. If you thought the “bad guys” from the first book were nasty, just wait till you meet Doctor Cain.

Here’s the longer version:

Aleksei tries to forget the past, but it’s impossible. He still remembers conversations he had with his dead friends, and every time he looks at his son Dmitri he can’t help but think of the boy’s namesake. Aleksei splits his time between his family in Petersburg, his mistress and illegitimate daughter in Moscow, and wherever his job takes him. Reporting directly to Tsar Alexandre, Aleksei has spent the last few years infiltrating revolutionary groups, in hopes of squashing rebellions before they even start, saving lives, and saving Russia. Many of these rebels are soldiers the same age group as Aleksei, who had chased the French all the way back to Paris thirteen years ago. They came home, wanting for Russia the freedoms and republic they saw in Paris.

Things are going fairly swimmingly, until Aleksei receives a message from a man he knows to be dead. Partly out of fear, and partly out of curiosity, he goes to the meeting, to meet a man who claims to be Maksim’s younger brother Kyesha. Maksim did have a brother, a brother who died in childhood. Who is this man, and what does he want from Aleksei? He certainly isn’t Maksim’s brother, but Aleksei does know him from somewhere. If only he could remember where. . . . Over many short meetings, with questions and answers given over a children’s gambling game, Aleksei earns a book bound in the skin of a voordalak, and discovers the secrets behind Kyesha’s horrific past. Read the rest of this entry »

seriously, who scheduled me to work on a Friday!?  Raise your hand, I want to glare at you!

however, for those of you who are not raising your hand, here are some goodies for you.

Filed under Totally Awesome, we’ve got

Doctor Who premiers on BBC America on April 23rd at, umm, check your local listings. Or you can attempt to navigate the annoyingly flash heavy and painfully photoshopped BBC America website. That site’s got a lot of weird mumbly jumbly time travelly floaty stuff going on. (now read that paragraph out loud in your best Amy Pond voice, you know you want to)

Read the rest of this entry »


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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.