the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for July 2011

World House: Restoration, by Guy Adams

published July 2011

where I got it: rec’d review copy from Angry Robot Books

why I read it: really enjoyed the first book in the series, The World House







There is a box, and through that box is a house. A house that is often entered through violence. It has the power to change all who enter it, and one who enters it will have the power to change the house.

Picking up right where the first book, The World House left off, World House: Restoration offers action, betrayal, some brilliantly put together time paradoxes and a satisfying conclusion.

As I don’t know how many of you have read the first book, I will try to keep the review for the second book as spoiler free as possible.

In the opening scenes of Restoration, most of our favorite characters from the first book find themselves in the train station of the house.  Some are ready to go kick some ass, others are thankful for some time to rest. The House itself has promised to help them, and Sophie is so busy bonding with the house that she has no idea what’s going on. The trains will take them where they need to go, when they need to be there.  While Miles, Carruthers and Tom  head to Florida hoping to run into Alan at an auspicious place, Penelope and Alan watch over Sophie at the station, leaving  Ashe has the unsavory quest of going back in time to make sure all the pieces end up in their proper places so this game can play out.

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We came home from vacation laden with fudge, wine, cherries, a few books,  and wonderful memories. Vacations out of town: I highly recommend ’em. Even if you only go a few hours away.

Came home to find a few packages waiting for us on the kitchen table as well (thanks garden/house sitter!)

behold, books review-copy, purchased, and borrowed, and hopefully to be read soon:

from bottom to top, we’ve got:

The Thackery T Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities, Edited by Ann and Jeff Vandermeer – This is my top priority, once I finish the book I’m reading right now (more on that later). I really have no idea how to describe this book, but I’ll try. It’s a massive collection of stories, articles, photos and artwork of the strange things (and the stories behind them) that were found in Dr. Lambhead’s sprawling home after his death. The man was a hoarder/collector of anything and everything strange.  I believe the Vandermeer’s solicited entries for this, and accepted only the strangest.   Suffice to say, I’ve been excited about this one for a while, and when I tore open than shipping envelope I squee’d around the apartment for most of that evening.  I’ve only been able to spend about 10 minutes with the book so far, and just reading random opening paragraphs I can tell I’m gonna be squeeing the entire time I’m reading.

Lowtown, by Daniel Polansky – my 2nd priority.  I’ve been looking forward to this title for months.  Since I got a well written e-mail from a gent that started out something like “Hi, my name is Daniel Polansky, and I’ve written this book. . . . “.  Early reviews were positive, focusing on the anti-hero and darkness of the book. Well, ya’ll know I loves me an anti-hero, and I loves me some dark.  Not to mention this is a beautiful hardcover edition too.

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Eastern Standard Tribe, by Cory Doctorow

Published in 2004

where I got it: library

why I read it: I like all things Doctorow








Meet Art.  he’s smart, he’s loyal, he’s naive, and he’s sitting on the roof of a mental institution thinking really hard about suicide.

Let’s back up a bit, and find out how he got there, shall we?  In this near future, the time zone in which you live defines your friends and your employers. Business never stops, and who wants to be doing conference calls at 5am because that’s when your employer is up? it’s so much easier to just work with the hundreds of millions of people who already populate your time zone and whose circadians already match yours.

An Industrial saboteur of sorts, Art spends his days offering bad advice to Western Europe, while at night developing software to be used for the benefit of his home tribe, the Eastern Standard Tribe.  To Art, his Tribe is more than just employer. To him, they are motherland and family. If only everyone was so loyal.
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comfort schmumfort, I think I’ll schedule a massage for today! or at least more time in the jacuzzi. As much as I love being on vacation,  I think it’s time to head home one of these days.

hope you enjoyed this quick series of prescheduled vacation posts, here’s your last one:

in the last year or so, what did you read that was outside your comfort zone, or at least outside your usual genres? was it a good experience? Will you read that type of book again?

hmmm,  i’m gonna give a two fold answer, because one of a positive experience, and one was a not-so-positive experience.

first, the good.  From more than a handful of friends I’d been hearing good things about some chick named Sloane Crosley. Apparently she makes a (sort of) living writing essays, about her every day life. Silly and odd things that happen to her, her strange habits, her strange friends, her friend’s strange habits. Really? an entire book of this? This is why the library exists, so I can rent this kind of thing instead of paying for it. Sloane Crosley’s I was Told There’d be Cake is a book I should have bought instead of just getting from the library. Maybe I didn’t laugh out loud on every single page, but I sure did laugh a lot.  Will I read more Sloane Crosley? hell yeah! will I read more books of essays? more than likely.

ahh, now the not as good.  YA is such a huge craze lately. most YA doesn’t do much for me.  and Vampires, the other huge craze, and lets just say I like my vampires the same way I like my coffee: dark and NOT sparkling.  Somehow I ended up reading a YA vampire steampunk romance, um, thing.  And what did I learn from this experience? that YA vampire paranormal romance is so not my thing and it’s just best that I leave it alone.

another random bookshelf photo.  last one, at least for this week.  😉


walk without rhythym. . . .

Hi Everyone, and welcome to the final section of our Dune read along. Hope you enjoyed the ride!    Our last group of questions was kindly supplied by Grace, and she came up with some great ones!

Here are the questions, and my answers are after the jump:

1.  What is your reaction to finally learning the identity of Princess Irulan?  Do you think that her convention added to the story?
2.  Were you satisfied with the ending?  For those reading for the first time, was it what you expected?

3.  On both Arrakis and Salusa Secundus, ecology plays a major role in shaping both characters and the story itself.  Was this convincing?  Do you think that Paul would have gone through with his threat to destroy the spice, knowing what it would mean for Arrakis?

4.  Both Leto and Paul made their decisions on marriage for political reasons.  Do you agree with their choices?

5.  What was your favorite part in this section of the book?
6.  One of the things I noticed in the discussions last week was Herbert’s use of the word “jihad.”  What do you think of Herbert’s message about religion and politics?

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sick of me clogging your feeds yet?  what do I care, I’m living it up up in the hills and enjoying wine and chocolate! and hopefully some mini-golf.  Disc golf would be cool too.

anyways, on to our next “year or so” meme!

What are some of your favorite books that you’ve read in the last year or so?

It doesn’t have to be a new book, just something that was new-for-you that you read in the last year or so.  I think my faves would include:

The Habitation of the Blessed, by Catherynne Valente

Embassytown, by China Mieville

Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner

Yarn, by Jon Armstrong

another random bookshelf photo:


I’m on a vacation up north for a really, really long weekend. Not only do I have no idea what kind of internet connection I’ll have up here, but if I play my cards right I’ll be drinking wine on the beach or in a hot tub instead of internetting anyways.  so in lieu of even more fun with tenses,  I prescheduled a bunch of posts for you. Also, I plan to torture you with badly taken random photos.

only because I love you.  and i know how much you love my posts clogging your feeds!

This blog has been around just about a year, so these are all going to be “a year, more or less” themed meme type things. Can I call something a meme? doesn’t it have to filter through the web and become that on it’s own? eh, i digress.

what awesome rock-your-world new-to-you authors have you discovered in the last year or so?

I’ve been lucky enough to discover a metric ton of awesome new and new-to-me authors who totally rocked my world in the last year or so – Lauren Beukes, Robin Hobb, Jasper Kent, Jon Armstrong, Catherynne Valente, Patrick Rothfuss, Lavie Tidhar, Ellen Kushner, and Mark Hodder, just to name a few.   Some of them have been around for a while, I’m almost embarrassed that it took me this long to find them.

I don’t know what I would have done without those folks. Not enjoys as many books as I have, that’s for sure.


random photo of one of my  bookshelves:

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There’s not been a ton of good, accessible anime out these last few years.  seriously, how much Bleach and Naruto do I really need (well, none, actually)?

then I discovered Steins;Gate. Available to stream through Crunchyroll, and viewable through Roku boxes everywhere, you can buy a subscription and stream it live, or be a cheap ass like me and watch one or two episodes behind.

I got hooked on Steins;Gate a few months ago, and I can easily say it is the best anime I have seen in years.

to put it another way: Steins;Gate is the best thing that happened to me since the original Fullmetal Alchemist.  

if you’re at all into anime, you owe it to yourself to track this show down.

I’m going to jump right into what’s going on at this point in the season, so you might want to read this article on the first 8 or so episodes.  Consider yourself warned, there be spoilers ahead.

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Hi everyone, welcome to part two of our Dune read along.  Part one is here, and checkout Stainless Steel Droppings for links to everyone else’s discussion.

This week, it was my turn to provide questions, and I came up with a whole bunch, but suggested that people choose whichever ones they felt like discussing. This way, everyone’s posts will be a little different.

If you have never read Frank Herbert’s classic epic scifi novel DUNE, or you haven’t finished reading the middle portion of the book, be warned, here be spoilers!

our story so far:

The Harkonnens have retaken Arrakis with the help of the Emperor’s Sardaukar shock-troops.   the few surviving members of the Atreides household have gone to ground, and after being rescued by the imperial planetologist Kynes, Jessica and Paul escape in an ornithopter. Believed dead by the Harkonnens, Paul and Jessica take advantage of the mythos planted on Arrakis by earlier Bene Gesserit sisters.  But maybe Paul is the child of the prophecy? His Mentat and Bene Gesserit trainings combined with intense quantities of Spice awaken his prescience ability. The futures that Paul sees are either brutal and bloody, or steeped in stagnation. Is there no middle ground?

Meanwhile, Baron Harkonnen is grooming one awful nephew after another to inherit control of Arrakis.

Taken in by a Fremen tribe, Paul and Jessica are tested, and then accepted into the tribe so quickly they can barely think about it before it happens.   Plans within plans, and circles within circles, this is only the beginning for those destined to live our their days on the desert planet Arrakis, known as Dune.

Of the handful of questions I put forth, here are the ones I’ll be discussing after the jump:

Was Liet’s identity a surprise?  who do you think he really works for?
What do you think of Count Fenring’s unusual verbal mannerisms? 
The center portion of the book is still pretty dialog heavy, but what I’ve noticed is the subtlety of the dialog. Things left unsaid are often more important than things that are said.  What do you think of that as a stylistic choice? does it make the dialog more interesting? less interesting?
Dune was written in the 60’s. Does it feel dated to you? How does it compare, writing style-wise, to more contemporary science fiction you’ve read?

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Because I just can’t help myself, you know?  Nature abhors a vacuum like my credit at my favorite local bookstore abhors not being spent. Who cares that I just got a half dozen books from the library?  Bookstores are my kryptonite! Even more so after one of the employees let slip they’d just gotten in a ton of vintage SF.

teh new goodies:


from bottom to top, we’ve got:

A Feast for Crows, by George R R Martin. I got this out of the library a few years ago, I wish I’d thought to buy it before they changes the cover art to the “new” style. now my Martin covers don’t match!  😦  I can’t decide if I’m going to buy into the hype and purchase Dance with Dragons in hardback, or just get it from the library and wait to purchase until it’s in paperback.

Doomsday Book by Connie Willis.  I’ve never read any Willis, but I keep hearing really good things about her.

Lord Valentine’s Castle by Robert Silverberg.  Another one I’d gotten from the library a few years ago, it was my first Silverberg.  After I finished it, I remember my husband asking me what I thought of it as this is one of his favorites too, and I expressly remember saying that not only did I want to learn how to juggle, but if we ever had a son, I wanted to name him Valentine.

Moon over Soho by Ben Aaronovitch.  I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Midnight Riot, and I’ve been hearing this 2nd one is just as fun too.

Stalking the Unicorn, by Mike Resnick – it just looked fun. and the acknowledgement pages makes some reference to a friend of Resnick’s who is the “God emperor” of something, which made me chuckle. and that brings us to . . .

The Heaven Makers, by Frank Herbert.  You wouldn’t know it by skimming the review index, but I am a HUGE Frank Herbert fan.  I think I’ve read maybe a dozen books by him, and I know most of his discography by sight. But this is one I have never even heard of! Anyone know anything about this title?



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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.