the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category

holy crap, how are we already into February? how did that even happen?

anyways, February is looking hella fun for me.  and since there’s no possible way I can get through all of this in one month, likely I’ll still be reading and talking about these books in March . . . and maybe April too.

Here’s what my February looks like:

I’ve got some #VintageSciFi posts I still want to write

I read E. Lily Yu’s On Fragile Waves, and cried buckets. need to write a review. This book came out this week, so yeah, I really need to get that review written!

Am currently reading Jeff Vandermeer’s A Peculiar Peril (thanks public Library!), and Clelia Farris’s collection Creative Surgery.  I’m nearly finished with Creative Surgery, so hope to review that one soon. Peculiar Peril is a freakin’ doorstopper, so it’s gonna be a while. Peculiar Peril is gloriously absurd, it’s sort of like if Neil Gaiman wrote China Mieville’s Un Lun Dun? but crank the absurdity up to like 500, and then make it funny in certain spots and terrifying in other spots.

I also got Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse from the library, so need to start that soon, or renew it.

Francesca Forrest’s Lagoonfire (sequel to The Inconvenient God) comes out in early March and I want to read it RIGHT NOW because I’ve loved everything I’ve read by her. This is likely my next read once I finish Creative Surgery.

EPIC WIN, I scored an ARC of Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Jillian vs. Parasite Planet, which I also can’t wait to get to, because I love everything she writes.  This one doesn’t hit bookstore shelves until July so I guess I could wait a month or two to read it. My husband loves her work too, so there’s a good chance he’ll get to read this book before I do! Not fair! but, actually pretty fair.

I also got a nonfiction business/leadership book, Radical Candor from the library, it was recommended by a very close friend of mine.  Lots of good communication / management advice, plus it has swear words which makes me giggle. I love that the author is comfortable talking about her own failures.  Business books that are all “everything i do is perfect and gold, I have only ever have successes!” make me super suspicious, because no one is perfect, and the way we learn is by making mistakes.  The weirdest part about #adulting so far – suddenly finding myself excited about reading management / leadership books, and talking to my friends about them and my friends being excited to talk to me about their favorite titles. weird AF.


and lots of that reading will likely get derailed because:

I’m starting season four of Deep Space Nine


I’ve been working on this during the weekends.  (Link will take you to a twitter thread, you shouldn’t need a twitter account to view the thread)

Also? I’m feeling the itch for another book cull.  If you live in the US and you want a random package of 2-4 absolutely random books,  find a way to privately send me your mailing address (don’t put it in the comments where everyone can see!) and I’ll mail you a surprise bundle. This offer is good until I run out of lonely books on my bookshelves that need a loving home.

Edited to add:  Realizing many of you may have no idea how to privately contact me directly, here’s my email address:   When I’m done with this giveaway, I’ll remove my address from this post.

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It’s been so long since my last blog post that I forgot that the block editor was a thing.


thank god for “classic editor”, am I right?


This past week’s excitement aside, I’ve been really itching to do . . .  well . .   anything.  My city isn’t in lockdown, but not a lot is open.  Retail shopping has lost all joy, it’s shop alone and get in, get what you need, get out, no browsing, no trying on clothes. Every going to the bookstore is just depressing.

I needed something to get me out of the house, I needed something a little different, and I needed something that wouldn’t socially burn out introvert me.

So I signed up to volunteer with Meals on Wheels,  and I renewed my library card.

I used to be at the library all the freakin time!  I’d go to my local library every other weekend, and then on the other weekends I’d go to the library in the next town!  And then I got into blogging, and got into ARCs and had more books than I knew what to do with, and then I also found really good used bookstores and then my finances were finally such that I could afford to buy books new when I wanted them, and I also have a local group of book-ish friends and we are often sharing books back and forth.  so my library card expired and I didn’t even realize it.

I called the library earlier this week, to see what the policies were about getting my card renewed. They looked my up in their computer, and I wasn’t there.

It had been so long since I used my library card, that I wasn’t even in their computer anymore! That was embarrassing!  But? they said just come on in, and we’ll give you a new card.

So this morning, I did!  and five minutes later, I had a new library card account.

You know what I love about the library?  Every step, every aisle feels like a surprise.  What books are down this row? you won’t know unless you look!  what books are on that shelf? guess you’ll have to look to find out!   what’s on the “we recommend” shelf?  It changes every week!

I didn’t have any specific books or authors in mind, I just wanted to browse, and see what caught my eye.

here’s what I got!

Crosstalk by Connie Willis – I love her stuff, and this is one I’ve never read before.  this is a doorstopped chunkster of a book, holy crap! I better not read this in bed, if I drop it on my face I might break my nose.

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green – A bunch of friends have recommended this to me, it looks like a fun, fast read.  Something about social media and going viral going horribly wrong.

We are all Completely Fine by Daryl Gregory – a bunch of friends have recommended this too! I’ve read a couple of short stories by Gregory, and enjoyed them. So let’s give this a whirl.

Have you read any of these? did you like them?


I didn’t get a ton of books, but guess what? I can return these and get more, whenever I want.  There is something about that phrase, whenever I want, that right now feels so freeing.



I ordered some new books!    and they arrived way quicker than I expected!


These were all ordered from  The site doesn’t have the biggest selection I’ve ever seen,  BUT?  they share profits with local independent bookstores!  I got some brand new beautiful books, AND my local bookstore shared in the profit!


And? these books showed up about a week quicker than I expected!


I got The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes because my friend John recommended it as a great time travel read, and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read by Beukes,  Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik because I’ve been reading to read it forever,  and Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia because everything about this book looks hella cool.


Have you read any of these books?  What did you think of them?


are you familiar with   If you’ve not perused their site, I highly recommend!




Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

Want to join in? Post a picture of 5 random books you own, with the tag #5ForFriday and get your friends talking.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

The Nine by Tracy Townsend – I’ve not read this, but I keep hearing really good things about it.  Also, this photo doesn’t do it justice, that cover art is freakin’ gorgeous!


Lotus Blue by Cat Sparks – This came highly recommended.  I had a slow start, I eventually put it down. I should really give it another try.


Starless by Jacqueline Carey – she did a book signing event at a bookstore near me, so of course I got the book!  But I haven’t read it yet.


Inversions by Iain M. Banks – Great book!!  If you’ve read any Banks Culture books, you should read Inversions! and if you haven’t read any Culture books but want to try Banks without committing to a big series, read Inversions! it’s the not-a-Culture book that sort of is. This is one I want to reread sometime.


The Moon and the Other by John Kessel – I’ve not read this. I’m worried it’s just going to be on the bookshelf forever, looking pretty.

Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

Want to join in? Post a picture of 5 random books you own, with the tag #5ForFriday and get your friends talking.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?

This week, we have:


City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014) –  this is the first novel in one of my favorite fantasy trilogies (review here).   If you’re like me, and find yourself burned out on any number of fantasy tropes, Bennett is the writer for you.  I can’t say enough good things about this series!


The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne Valente (2010) – one of the most beautiful books I have ever had the good fortune to read (review here).  And when I reread it? it just got better.  I admit to being a little lukewarm on Valente’s newer stuff (maybe it is sensory overload for me? I dunno), but I can’t get enough of some of her older stuff.


The Sharing Knife: Beguilement by Lois McMaster Bujold (2009) – this has been on my bookshelf forever. Should I read it or give it away?  Should I just read more of her Vorkosigan books?


The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson  (2000) – another one that’s been on my bookshelf forever.  Even though his rambling annoys me, I have a soft spot for Stephenson.  I’ve picked this book up any number of times,  but never actually read it.


Red Mars by Kim Stanley Robinson (1993)  –  I’ve read this a few times, but it’s probably been ten years since I last picked it up.  I want to reread it, but I’m afraid it will feel dated.  in the early 90s, what did KSR think the future would look like?


alright, what looks good to you?  If you’ve read any of these books, did you enjoy them?  if you haven’t read any of these, which look interesting to you?

Welcome to a new-ish feature here at Little Red Reviewer, called Five for Friday. The concept is simple – it’s a Friday, and I post a photo of 5 books, and then we chat about them in the comments.

The only things these books have in common are:
– they were on my bookshelf
– I’m interested in your thoughts on them.

have you read any of these? if yes, did you like them? If you’ve not read them, does the cover make you interested in learning more about the book?


Woah, I have not read any of these!  Any recommendations on where to start? What looks good?


A Turn of Light by Julie Czerneda – I’ve read a bunch of her science fiction fiction, haven’t yet dipped my toes into her fantasy.  A friend knew I enjoyed her work, so gifted me with this book.  My super lame reason for not having picked this up yet is because it is one helluva door stopper.  and I have gotten super spoiled on novellas and short novels lately.


Kabu-Kabu by Nnedi Okorafor – this is short stories, I think?  And I loved the first two Binto books. . .


Lex Talionis by R.S.A. Garcia – Someone recommended this to me,  so I bought it, and haven’t read it yet.


Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes – Same as the Garcia book – this was recommended, so I bought it, and haven’t read it yet.


Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang – ok, so I HAVE read one story in here – The Story of Your Life,  that is the short story that the movie Arrival was based on.  I read the story in a rush, we were going to see the movie the next day. I don’t think anything in this collection is meant to be read in a rush.  Also, I love Arrival.


Have you read any of these books?  if yes, what do you recommend?

Not familiar with these books? What looks interesting to you?

I’ve been reading plenty lately!  Have I written any reviews? Nope.  hmmm…   guess I better get on that.

Here are some teasers on what I’ve read lately:

Not sure that I enjoyed Noumenon Infinity enough to write a full length review of it,  it might get a quickie one paragraph write up or something.  My favorite character hardly makes an appearance, I found the plot to be clunky and too much jumping around, and the ending was not a surprise at all.  There – done.

The Monster Baru Cormorant – damn did I love this book!  this book has a much, much wider range than the first one, I want to read it again, cover to cover, before writing the review. I feel like on the first read through I wasn’t focusing on the right things.

The Calculating Stars  is my  local book club’s book for this month. What a fun, fast, read!   This book isn’t dense, but there is a LOT jammed into it, and it’s just the beginning of the story. I can see why Kowal did a duology.


I just finished this forthcoming Tim Powers novella this morning, quite a fun read!  Would make an excellent novel if he wanted to expand it. Has the Power’s treats of parallel worlds, raising the dead, body switching, and people who are convinced that they know how all this stuff works.


How about you?

What have you read lately? Was it good?

When you’ve read a bunch of stuff, but you’re behind on actually writing the reviews, what do you do?

Sometimes I just never write the reviews, sometimes i reread the book to get excited about the story again,  sometimes i read all the reviews on Amazon to get some inspiration, sometimes I bribe myself “No more episodes of Great British Baking Show until you write a review!”

I owe you a review, and I’m soon to owe you lots of reviews!

Here’s the latest that I’ve finished reading, what I am reading, and what I want to read!


I recently finished reading The Guns Above, by Robyn Bennis.  Fun read, tons of snarky and sarcastic dialog, great characters.  Fans of Bennis’s work are already excited for the sequel!


and speaking of sequels. . .

here’s what I am reading right now:

Noumenon Infinity is Lostetter’s 2nd Noumenon book.  My dad liked the first book so much we’re reading the second one together!  I’m about 150 pages in so far, and while the story is completely different from the first book in the series, I’m enjoying myself. There are two AIs who don’t know that each other exist, and I am hoping that they’ll meet each other before the book ends. These are two AIs who have always been singular and been completely alone.  if they meet each other, it will be a little like a first contact story, but not. and then they won’t have to be alone anymore. You can read my review of the first book, Noumenon, here.


The Traitor Baru Cormorant isn’t a sequel, but it has one that will be out at the end of October.  When Traitor Baru Cormorant came out, reading this book just about killed me.  Every page is gorgeous writing, i want to protect these characters from pain but i know nothing I do will change anything, because as a reader, I am powerless.  I need to know what happens, so I can go into the sequel with fresh wounds, you know?



And as far as Want To Read,



because who doesn’t want to read a Murderbot book?  Getting to read this book will be my reward for writing the review for The Guns Above.  That 2nd Murderbot book had quite the effect on me, I’m interested to see what this book does to me.

Not much to say except YAY new books!

Also, sorry the blog has been quiet lately.  Lots of day jobbery happening (don’t worry all good stuff, just a LOT of it), not enough reading/writing happening.  such is life.


so let’s take a few minutes to celebrate some new goodies!


Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett drops on Aug 21st.  I’ll have a review up in a few days, so until then all I can say is holy shit is this book good! And well, I wrote a very Andrea review. You’ll see.


Some lovely ARCs that recently arrived from Tachyon:

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale is approximately a gazillion fairy tale retellings from the master of story, Jane Yolen. I am not entire sure what Lavie Tidhar’s Unholy Land is, but it looks very interesting.


And believe it or not I’ve been trying to read some non-fiction lately too!

So far, How to Create a Mind is over my head, but what I am understanding out of it, I am enjoying. the mistake I’m making is trying to read this entire book at once. it is short, but very, very dense. I need to take it one chapter at a time, and reread the chapter over and over again until I understand it.

Never Split the Difference is the easiest business book I’ve ever read. Chris Voss was the FBI’s lead hostage negotiator. Take those skills, and negotiate at work! with your kids! with your kids teachers!  the book mostly talks about empathy and active listening.  Surprisingly compelling read.


what have you been reading lately?



well, new to me!  Some of these are hot off the presses, some of them are reprints, one is so new I can’t talk about it until release day, and I’m surrounded by so many things I want to read RIGHTNOW that I don’t know where to start!


Hot off the presses and imma talk all about it:

The May issue of Apex Magazine is out, and it is a doozy! Garbage photo I know, but this jam packed TOC includes fiction from Nisi Shawl, Matthew Sanborn Smith, Rich Larson, Cherie Priest, and more. Lots of ghost stories, horror stories, and this one from Larson – you will never use social media again. Fantastic interview with the cover artist, who also did the beautiful cover art for Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew.  So, anyway, read this magazine.

Yes, yes! Apex is currently available in print!  A reader can purchase a print version of the magazine for (what in my opinion is) a reasonable price, but for a publisher, print is expensive.  The magazine needs a certain number of print subscribers to continue producing a print magazine. And we’re not there yet.  If you like the idea of a print mag, join me in putting your money where your mouth is.

ok, stepping off soapbox.

Lotus Blue was recommended to me by my friend Alex, she and I need to swap book rec’s more often!   And of course I had to get a copy of Beholder’s Eye after this happened!   This is an older series that was recently reprinted.

I’m also reading a new release that comes out on Tuesday. Can’t talk about it because my friendly bookseller probably wasn’t supposed to sell it to me early.  But, nothing says I can’t publish a review of it on Tuesday or Wednesday!

Is the suspense killing you?


What goodies have you recently acquired?

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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.