the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for October 2017

I’ve been bouncing around a lot of books lately. I’ll pick something up, read a hundred pages, put it down. In one case, I got 200 pages through a book, got annoyed by it, got so annoyed that I didn’t care that i was only a hundred pages from the end, and put it down.

Oh October, month of my DNF’ing.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe I’m picking up books that I’m just not in the mood for. Maybe i’m picking up books that aren’t as awesome as they could be. Who knows.

I did finish two books recently. Both are book 3’s in ongoing series, both were let downs. They weren’t terrible, they just weren’t as good as the first or second books in those series, and the first two books were so good that my expectations were pretty high for book 3.  I was disappointed in both books, but I did finish both of them, so that must mean something.

When I fall into this funk of DNF’ing, of nothing meeting my expectations, of getting frustrated, I lean on some old classics.  Something that will either be a popcorn adventure, something that will transport me to another world,  maybe something with language that borders on the poetic.  You can’t go wrong with Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun.

I’ve read a handful of Gene Wolfe, some of it amazing, some of it annoying.  I’ve only read the first two books (bound together in the volume Shadow and Claw) of The Book of the New Sun, so this is my chance to read all four books and actually complete the series.  Or, I’ll get through Shadow and Claw and that book alone will cure my funk of DNF’ing.   Or, I’ll get through Shadow and Claw,  realize how many clues I missed, and read the entire thing all over again.  Any one of these results will make me a happy person.

 

In the category of books I can’t remember if I own or not, I bought these the other day:

please, please, ignore the huge “Blade Runner” words on the cover of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep!  This is NOT a novelization of the movie, or at least it better not be.  I read DADoES years ago, and quite enjoyed it.  I grew up watching Bladerunner, and very much enjoyed the new Bladerunner2049.   I thought I had a crumbly paperback somewhere of DADoES? But maybe not?  And there’s a chance I already have a copy of the Wasp Factory, but maybe not?  and if i remember correctly, The Wasp Factory predates The Culture?  Banks peeps, help me out! this “maybe not” problem was easily solved for less than $20.

 

Have you read any Gene Wolfe?

Have you read any Philip K. Dick?

Have you read any Iain Banks / Iain M. Banks?

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hi All!

I’m doing something a little bit different for my blog tour stop.  I’ve been getting a lot of questions from bloggers, reviewers, and parents who are in the tour about the reading order of these books.  Questions like – what all books are in which series?  Isn’t one of these series finished, and the other one isn’t?  Does my child (or me!) have to read these in order? Do we have to read the first series first and the second series second?

 

The easy answers are:

Danica’s six book Overworld Adventure series is complete.  She is currently writing the spin off series, which is called the Overworld Heroes series, the first book, Adventure Against the Endermen, will be available in early November.  You don’t have to read the first series first and the second series second. In fact, you could probably start with any book in any series, and enjoy a nice family friendly adventure that your kids are sure to love.

 

You can learn more about Danica Davidson and her many children’s novels at her website DanicaDavidson.com, or follow her on twitter at @DanicaDavidson.  To see a list of blog participating in this blog tour, click here.

 

Here’s the cover art for Danica’s  Minecrafter novels, with a little bit about each book:

THE OVERWORLD ADVENTURE SERIES:

Escape from the Overworld (book 1, published January 2015)

Stevie is in for a big surprise while building his treehouse: he’s first attacked by a creeper, and then must take on a group of zombies! The near miss has him feeling like the worst mob fighter in Minecraft, so when he finds a portal into a brand-new world, he’s willing to take his chances.

He steps out of a computer screen and into the room of a sixth-grade girl Maison, who’s a talented builder. Stevie is shocked by how different this world is, and Maison takes him under her wing. But soon the two friends learn zombies have also made their way out of the portal!

More and more creatures are slipping out by the second, wreaking havoc on a world that has no idea how to handle zombies, creepers, giant spiders, and the like. Stevie and Maison must put their heads together and use their combined talents in order to push the zombies back into Minecraft, where they belong. As Stevie and Maison’s worlds become more combined, their adventure becomes intense and even more frightening than they could have ever imagined.

 

Attack on the Overworld (book 2, published October 2015)

Stevie and Maison have a great friendship where they travel back and forth between the Overworld and the human world. Maison has earned some fame for battling off the mobs at her school, but the attention has also brought about cyberbullies DestinyIsChoice123 and TheVampireDragon555, who have hacked her computer and discovered the portal! Now, through complex coding, the cyberbullies have turned the Overworld into eternal night and unleashed a pack of zombies, allowing their griefing to reach a whole new level.

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The Rise of Herobrine (book 3, published April 2016)

Stevie has been having repeated nightmares about the mysterious figure known as “Herobrine.” Some say Herobrine is an old ghost story. Some say he’s a virus. But no one believes he is real…except maybe Stevie, whose nightmares are telling him that Herobrine is going to take over the Overworld.

His cousin Alex has come to visit, and during one of her explorations, she finds a music disc that predicts the destruction of the Overworld! Are Stevie’s nightmares and the music disc connected? Stevie and Alex hook up with Stevie’s best friend Maison, and the three quickly begin looking for answers.

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Welcome to the Danica Davidson Minecrafters Blog Tour!  Over the next few weeks, bloggers across the internet and across the planet will be talking about Danica Davidson’s Minecrafter books for middle grade readers, interviewing her, hosting guest posts, and more!   If you’re on social media, follow #Minecrafters and #MinecraftersBlogTour.  To learn more about Danica, visit her website and follow her on twitter, where she is @DanicaDavidson.

Danica is the author of the completed 6 book Overworld Adventure Series with starts with Escape from the Overworld, the brand new Overworld Heroes series which starts with Adventure Against the Endermen, and many other books for young readers.  Her books have been called “EXCITING” by Forbes, “RECOMMENDED READING” by School Library Journal, and have been spotlighted by NPR, Sci Fi Magazine, Barnes & Noble Kids Blog, MTV and other publications. Escape from the Overworld and Attack on the Overworld were also both selected by the prestigeous Scholastic Book Fair for second through sixth graders.  Her non-fiction articles have appeared at Publishers Weekly, Ms. Magazine, MTV,  CNN, Anime Insider, Booklist, Graphic Novel Reporter, iF Magazine, and many more.

Click here to read my interview with Danica, and click here to listen to her interview at the radio show Between The Lines.

 

Here’s a list of bloggers, reviewers, and authors who are participating in the blog tour. There are even some soooper seekrit posts I can’t even talk about until they go up!   As blog posts go up, I’ll be editing this post to include links to everyone’s posts, so check back often!

 

Dab of Darkness reviews the audiobook of Attack on the Overworld    and hosts Danica’s guest post on Fiction Creatures: Who to Meet and Who to Avoid

I Heart Reading hosts Danica’s Guest Post on Writing in the Minecrafter World

The Sentimental Mom has a review of Adventure Against the Endermen and interview with Danica Davidson

The Library Ladies features a guest post from Danica on the joy of libraries

Yolanda Sfetsos hosts Danica’s Guest Post on Putting the Real World into Minecraft

Stacey Filak’s son reviews Escape from the Overworld (and then we all died of cute)

The Hermit Librarian features Danica’s guest post on Adventures in Publishing

Books Without Any Pictures has a fantastic guest post on how Danica’s love for Manga helped her get into the Publishing World

Loud Library Lady’s son reviews Escape from the Overworld and gives it 5 stars!

Red Star Reviews had a great time reading Escape from the Overworld

The Write Path has a thoughtful review of Adventure Against the Endermen

That’s What She’s Reading has a review of Escape from the Overworld from the point of view of a reader who isn’t familiar with Minecraft, and a guest post from Danica about her writing process.

Mr. Ripley’s Enchanted Books features a fantastic guest post from Danica on  Minecraft and Humour

Literary Hoots has a guest post from Danica on How to Turn Your Favorite Video Game into a Book

Today We Did features a guest post from Danica on the Joys of Writing in the Minecraft World

 

 

Woah, that’s a ton of fantastic sites!  book review blogs, parenting blogs, parent-child reviews, and everything in between. Hope you can make time to visit everyone!

 

 

raven stratagemRaven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee

published June 2017

Where I got it: Purchased New

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Looking back at my review of the first book in this series, Ninefox Gambit, I wrote a pretty crappy review.  I remember when I finished that book, my mind was absolutely blown, and I had absolutely no idea how the heck to talk about what I’d just read.  So I wrote a passable review and then ordered the 2nd book in the series, Raven Stratagem.

 

I had a similar experience with Raven Stratagem.  My mind was utterly blown, and I knew I had no idea how to discuss what I just read.

 

So I read Raven Stratagem again, paid closer attention, and took more notes. You guys.  I don’t even like military scifi. And I loved the living shit out of this book. I never thought I’d say that some military science fiction books had become my comfort reads, but 2017 is a weird place.

 

Ninefox Gambit was on a comparatively small scale. It mostly took place on one ship, with Jedao manipulating the shit out of Cheris, and then showing her how powerful a skilled manipulator can be and how easy their society is to manipulate. All Kel cadets learn about the madman General Jedao who slaughtered his own troops, but they have no idea who he was as a person. Cheris gets to learn who he is as a person. It changes her mind.

 

Raven Stratagem is manipulation on a much, much larger scale.Yes, Jedeo is running around in Cheris’s body (is there anything of her left in there? Who knows), but in this novel we also get a look at the Hexarchates and how they run their factions.  Running a faction mostly means manipulating your fellow leaders so that you can get what you want, and right now, they all want immortality.  All this political manipulation would be sick if it wasn’t so darn entertaining!

 

If the first book was algebra, then this second book is trigonometry – with a focus on the study of angles.

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The Hotel Under the Sand, by Kage Baker

Published in 2009

Where I got it: purchased used

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I love Kage Baker’s books.  She wrote the Company series, a handful of humorous fantasy novels, and a bucket of short stories, all with her signature brand of humor, wit, and pull-you-right-in writing style.  Her career was cut short when she passed away from cancer in 2010.  Her books have become hard to find, so every time I am in a used bookstore I head right to the “B” section and buy everything they have of hers that I don’t already own.

 

The Hotel Under the Sand was published by Tachyon in 2009, and is her only known work for children and middle grade readers. This novella has a similar feel to Un Lun Dun by China Mieville, except it is all around happier and sunnier.

 

Young Emma has survived a shipwreck and washed up onto a beach.  As she is exploring the island, she meets a ghost named Winston. He is the Bell Hop Captain of the famous Grand Wenlocke hotel, and might young Emma have any luggage he can carry for her, or shoes he can shine?  You see,  decades ago, a wealthy man by the last name of Wenlocke started work on a massive resort on these famous sand Dunes. Adding to the allure and magic of the resort, this would be a resort where time stands still. Thanks to a time engine in the basement, guests are encouraged to stay as long as they please! Months, years! When they leave to go back home, only 2 weeks will have passed.  Perhaps the project was doomed from the start, as just before the hotel was due to open a huge storm came and swept it under the sands, taking Winston with it.

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There’s something fun going around twitter right now.  Author Cassandra Khaw asks:

 

I picked up on this through an RT from Apex Magazine, and since I seem to have a thing for long titled stories it took me a few tweets to list my five.

The full list of the short stories I would have someone read to get a feel for who I am is:

“The Book of May” by C.S.E. Cooney and Carlos Hernandez

“Woman of the Sun, Woman of the Moon” by Benjanun Sriduangkaew

“The Bookmaking Habits of Select Species” by Ken Liu

“The International Studbook of the Giant Panda” by Carlos Hernandez

“muo-ka’s Child” by Indrapramit Das

 

Hmmm…   apparently I am into aliens, sex, and death??

 

How about you? What 5 stories would you give someone to read to get a good feel for who you are?

Instead of a review, I have a thought experiment for you.  Like glitter slime, this was a fun idea to play with, and one I didn’t want to let go of until I’d tortured some people with it.  I have no idea if this is a funny idea, a dumb idea, or a cruel idea. For all I know, it has already been attempted.

 

 

 

A forthcoming book is getting a ton of hype. It is the author’s debut novel, the author’s website doesn’t have a ton of information because this person hasn’t written very much. A short and vague bio, a photo of the author, maybe a picture of their dog taken at the beach, or their cat sleeping in a sun spot. Lots of excitement about their debut novel!

Publicity e-mails start going out, showcasing stunning cover art, intriguing back cover copy, promises of a book that will blow your mind with unexpected twists and turns. The publicity e-mail requests that if you are lucky enough to receive an ARC, that you do not talk about the book until the release day, and that under no circumstances do you spoil any of the plot twists.

Book reviewers patiently wait for ARCs to arrive. The publisher has chosen not put the book on Netgalley, citing lack of control of when reviews are published as their reasoning. High profile book reviewers assume they will be the first to receive the ARCs.

There is more and more hype on social media. A book trailer that looks like the best scifi movie preview you’ve ever seen. Posts that are guessing about the plot, discussing images and pictures that are in the cover art – what could these possibly have to do with the characters and the plot that is mentioned on the back cover copy?

The release date gets closer.

Bloggers and reviewers begin to grumble on twitter that they haven’t rec’d an ARC yet. Hundreds of people mark the book as “want to read” on Goodreads. The book is available for pre-order on Amazon. NPR even mentions the elusiveness of the author, whose debut novel is has the book reviewing community all a flutter due to so few ARCs being available.

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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.