the Little Red Reviewer

June reading

Posted on: July 1, 2017

June, where did you go? Last I checked it was June 2nd, how is it already July??   I didn’t post many reviews in June, but I did get a lot of reading done.  Some of these I’ll write reviews for, some of them will get a capsule review in this post.  Here’s what I was up to this month:


I finished this fun little gem:

Spock Must Die is the famous novel where thanks to a transporter malfunction, the Enterprise now has two Spocks. Which one is the “real” one? What will they do with the other one? When war breaks out at the Klingon border, the importance of solving the mystery ratchets up. Even when Kirk is sure which Spock is the true, original Spock, he insists on calling his friend “Spock Two”. When questioned why, Kirk responds that by saying “two” every time he says his friend’s name, it forces him to remember how important it is to solve the problem at hand.  Fun little book, right around 200 pages.  Great beginning, satisfying end, a little slow in the middle.


then there was this other little gem:

Mightier than the Sword is the new novella out from K.J. Parker.  I’m not going to say much because I do plan to write a review, but it was fun, smart, snarky, and a joy to read. I’ve read it at least twice now, maybe three times?  I read these quick little novellas, and then I get ready to write a review, realize I don’t remember the details, so I read the whole thing again.  If you like Parker, you will love Mightier than the Sword.

Ya’ll have read Harry Turtledove, right? Once upon a time in the late 70s, he wrote a low fantasy series that started with the two novellas called Wereblood and Werenight, which were later published as a novel called Werenight. The story follows a country baron known as The Fox, and his warrior friend Van.  They need to fight a sorcerer who is harrassing their border keep, so they venture to the big city with the hopes of recruiting a better sorcerer who will fight the bad guy. Things go poorly for the Fox and Van, and most of what they try doesn’t work. It was interesting to read Turtledove’s early work,  but the novel hadn’t aged well and simply wasn’t that good. The writing is rough, the scenes feel repetitive, and while the final climactic action scene was fun to read, it didn’t match the rest of the book. Van was super cool.


I read Ursula K LeGuin’s The Left Hand of Darkness for my bookclub read, and it was a much faster read than I expected. I think I blew through the entire thing over a long weekend?  About a week after I finished reading it, I realized what I’d just read, and decided to read it again in a slower and more deliberate fashion. the photo shows a few of the notes I’ve tucked into the book. I have a feeling my review will be very long. Because I have a lot to say about this book, and a lot of discussion to invite.  For the concepts that are presented, I still can’t get over how fast this book is to read.


in the #AmReading stack is Will McIntosh’s new novel, Unbreakable.  Did you know McIntosh had a new novel out?  He’s self publishing this baby, and it’s currently available on Amazon. I’m maybe a third of the way through (had to tell, since I’m reading it on my phone), and this thriller is part Hunger Games, part Maze Runner, and part WTF.  Every time I think I know what’s going on, I get slapped in the face with a big fat NOPE.  Also, there is a psychotic clown.  McIntosh specializes in books that grab you in the first chapter and epic gut punches.  I’m a little nervous about what the big reveal might be, but I can’t stop reading!   I will probably finish this over the weekend and give myself a nice case of eye strain and a neck cramp from staring at my bitty little phone.


In the #BoughtButHaventStartedReading stack is Raven Strategem by Yoon Ha Lee and Pilot X by Tom Merritt.   NineFox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee got marketed as military scifi, and it is that, but it’s more about psychological manipulation than anything. A post-modern version of The Art of War, perhaps? Anyways, the end was pure awesomesauce, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the sequel.  And just look at that beautiful cover art!   Pilot X is the next book for my local SciFi Book club, it’s been getting some good buzz, so here’s hoping it’s as good as it looks!


So, that was my June!  What were you up to in June? Read any good books?  🙂

10 Responses to "June reading"

Reblogged this on e a m harris and commented:
Thanks to The Little Red Reviewer for interesting and insightful reviews. I haven’t read any of these books, but might be tempted – if I ever get the time.


I’ve tried various Turtledove series throughout the years and none of them have really kept my interest…


For what it’s worth, his stand alone historical novels Household Gods and Between the Rivers are pretty good. and even better, the entire story gets wrapped up in a few hundred pages, you don’t have to wait until book 4 (or whatever) to find out what happens.

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I met Harry Turtledove a couple of years ago, he was the nicest man!

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Great books. I’ve always had a crush on Spock so Spock Must Die looks good. Happy weekend!

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I’m really excited to read Unbreakable, it’s so cool that he’s self-publishing!


Early in the month I read the first book in the Star Wars Thrawn trilogy, a mystery novel by William Kent Krueger and a mystery short story collection.

Then after re-watching Ken Burns’ documentary THE CIVIL WAR about mid-month, I got sucked back into Civil War stuff (I read some about 30 years ago). Now I’m reading both Bruce Catton’s three volume trilogy, starting with THE COMING FURY (I’m about halfway through), and plan on starting THE CIVIL WAR, A NARRATIVE by Shelby Foote, also in three volumes. So six doorstop volumes of detailed non-fiction about the Civil War. I don’t know if I’ll get through all of it or get burned out after one or more volumes.


last time my other half went on a Civil War reading binge, we picked up the Shelby Foote three volume series you mention. Not sure if he ever finished it. Don’t force yourself to devour all those heavy non-fiction volumes at breakneck speed!

I also just started reading The Physician, by Noah Gordon, after really enjoying the movie on Netflix. Not my usual read, but I’m already about a hundred pages in!


Four of my favorite books I read in June were
Dreamsnake: Vonda N. McIntyre (1978)
The Prey of Gods: Nicky Drayden (2017)
Gather Her Round (Tufa #5): Alex Bledsoe (2017)
Chalk: Paul Cornell (2017)


I’ve been hearing good things about The Prey of Gods.

I’m so far behind in the Tufa series it’s embarrassing.


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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.
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