the Little Red Reviewer

Archive for the ‘for the love of reading’ Category

I’ve been dabbling in a few books lately, reading a few pages or a few chapters here and there, not really committing to any of them for the long haul. Book Attention Deficit Disorder? that’s badd.


Here’s what I’ve been reading:


Darwinia by Robert Charles Wilson was written in 1998, won the Prix Aurora, and was nominated for a Hugo. The premise is that in 1912, a large portion of Europe and Northern Africa disappeared overnight and was replaced with alien flora and fauna. A new age of discovery and exploration begins.  I’m maybe 40 pages in so far, and having a good time.  It’s the little details so far that are really pulling me in – momentary discussion of Europeans living in America and Canada who realize they may be the last people on Earth who speak their native language, characters mention reading Tarzan like stories in pulp magazines,  it’s just a ton of fun all around. I hope the rest of it is as good as the beginning!


Terra Incognita by Sara Wheeler is about her experiences in Antarctica. I’m reading a non-fiction book, can you believe it?  In the early chapters that I’ve read so far, she’s mostly talking about early explorers who went to the poles, people who got stranded, areas of Antarctica that were named after who, etc. Many years ago, I read an article (or maybe short novel? or excerpt?) that described the two kinds of people who are interested in Antarctica: those who have never visited the continent, and those who are trying to get back. Basically, once you go, all you want to do is go back. It’s been interesting jumping from this book to Darwinia. They are both about exploration, survival, and the unknown.


Red Rising by Pierce Brown was written in 2014. It’s the first of a trilogy, and the final book in the series, Morning Star, came out earlier in 2016.  Imagine if Hunger Games took place in the world of Gattaca, throw in a lot of Machiavellian social expectations and a very angry teenager who has lost someone he loves, and you’ll have something approaching Red Rising. I really want to like this book, but it’s just way to YA for me. That isn’t a knock against YA, it’s just me saying there are things I enjoy reading and things I don’t enjoy reading. And I’ve read some great YA, this just isn’t one of those great YA books. I’ll probably DNF this one. If you’ve read this book, or this series, what did you think of it?

It’s been a fun week!  reading something dark, something fantastical and unexpectedly funny, and something unputdownable that also made me think. Good times!

I really enjoyed Teresa Frohock’s Los Nefilim, and I’ve had her Miserere on my bookshelf for at least a year.  This is one that I’m slowly savoring. Gorgeous visuals, broken characters, and wow is it grim. Not grimdark, but dark and grim. If this book had a soundtrack it would be deep cello and percussion, very low pitched with lots of sustained vibrations that you feel before you realize you’re hearing them. But you’d need something sunny in there , because reasons and those sunset sherbet visuals. Maybe clarinet?



On the opposite end of the spectrum is The Starlit Wood, a new anthology of retold and reinvented fairy tales.  When hubby saw me reading it, the first thing he asked was “so, it’s like Snow White, Blood Red?” (edited by Datlow and Windling), and i said it was sorta like that, that each story is a take on a different fairy tale, but this new one is way more modern and the first few stories I read (I read them out of order) had me laughing my head off, which was a nice surprise!   Review coming soon!  But in the meantime, if you like to be entertained, and you like fairy tales,  this is a book you should watch for!




I netgalleyed Faller,  Will McIntosh’s forthcoming novel (dude, I still have nightmares about Soft Apocalypse, I can NOT believe I bought a bamboo plant!).  Not only did I have to refamiliarize myself with how netgalley works, but I also had to remember how to use my kindle.  I can’t really talk about this book yet, but erm, I got the file last week, and I’ve already finished the book.


I also acquired a novel called Red Rising, that came out a while ago, but it’s a trilogy and the 3rd  book is coming out pretty soon. It was described to me as “kinda YA-ish, but really good”. It’s the October book for my local SciFi bookclub, so we shall see!


So, that’s what I’ve been up to recently.  how about you?



Hey friends, it’s been a while.   I’ve been reading, I’ve been doing, just haven’t been doing anything worthwhile on the interwebs. While all ya’ll were out getting your ten thousand steps and playing PokemonGo, I’ve been sitting on my butt playing Candy Crush and reading dumb stuff on Buzzfeed.


But, I did get some reading done, and got some beautiful new books.

necessary evil

I finished reading Necessary Evil, by Ian Tregillis, and wow, what a punch to the guts! This book, what the characters go through, just wow.  when I do get around to writing the review, be warned, there will be plenty of spoilers. So much crazy stuff happens at the end of book 2, and this 3rd book in the series is such an emotional juggernaut that I’m gonna have spoil stuff that happens in book 2 and spoil some stuff that happens in book 3 to write a halfway decent review.  If you’ve read the entire trilogy, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


I was head over heels for N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season last year, so I’m super excited to read the next book in this series (duology? trilogy? open ended? I have no idea), The Obelisk Gate.  I loved the worldbuilding of the first book, I loved the “twist” about the main characters, although it wasn’t much of a twist, maybe more a creative way of presenting information?  I liked the little boy who ate rocks.  As soon as I’m done with current read, this is mostly likely the book I’ll pick up next.

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Books are wonderful little things, and it’s a true bond between two bookish people when one says to the other “I picked out some books I think you might like”.   It’s a special part of your brain that clicks on when you think about “would my friend like this book?”.

My friend Richard, of Tip the Wink, e-mailed me one day and said “I’m sending you a box of books”.  Little did he know the look of glee that appeared on my face when I saw that e-mail.  Someone was sending me books they think I might like? and even better, these were used, pre-loved books.  I’d  be able to say “my friend gave me these”. And I love getting to say that. I’m one of those weirdos who gives additional brownie points to friends who gift me their used books.

A week later, Richard’s box arrived.  It was like Christmas. In May.

that evening, I so very carefully opened it:

(be warned, this is a booknerd unboxing post, full of photos, squeeing, happy, and questions about stuff I’ve heard of but never read. Photos may be slow in loading)

the box_

The squeeing begun right away.  Arthur C. Clarke? Ben Bova? Neal Asher!   So far so good! Let’s see what else is in here…..

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The While I’ve been devouring Kage Baker books to keep ahead of spoilers in this read-along, some new goodies showed up at the house. And my friend Andy took me to the ginormous Lowry’s Books.  And I bought some other stuff.


What of these look good to you?

What of these have you read? Which of these should I read first?


Goodies from the used bookstore:

russ herbert

The Proteus Operation, by James P Hogan, published 1985.

We Who Are About To… by Joanna Russ, published 1977

Destination Void, by Frank Herbert, published in 1966. Oops, turns out I already have a copy of this one, but apparently there is the original version of the novel, and an updated version… so if I’m lucky, now I have one of each.

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it’s been how long since I did a blind date with a book give away??   that’s way too long.  let’s do it again!


here’s how it works:

  • All these books are new. Some of them I’ve read, some are ARCs that got mailed to me that I’m passing on. Some won’t be available in bookstores for months yet.
  • Due to the cost of shipping, this give away is for US only. (if you survived doing your taxes, you deserve a little give away, right?)
  • let me know in the comments which book(s) you’re interested in, and yes, you can request more than one. To be eligible, you *must* specify your choices (None of this lazy “they all look good!” stuff), by referring to the wrapping paper color, or one of it’s descriptors, or something useful. If we don’t already know each other, please leave me a way to reach you – twitter, e-mail, etc.
  • this give away will close in two weeks, on Sunday April 17.

Winners will be announced in late April. Chances are, by the time these books get mailed out, I will have forgotten which title was under what wrapping paper.

alright, enough with the rules, let’s see those books!




Flowers wrapping paper

Magical Realism!

Vivid Characters!

Artwork that comes alive!









Blue Wrapping Paper


Possible Alien Technology







birds on branches


Birds Wrapping Paper


Old Timey Hollywood

Circus Shows!

Detective’s Dilemma




black and white.



Black & White wrapping paper

This is exactly what it sounds like: a surprise bundle of SciFi/Fantasy/Horror novellas.   Super awesome grab bag!

Remember all those plans I had?  To pick up The Goblin Emperor, or finally write a review of Hearne’s Hounded or Pinborough’s The Death House?

Yeah, those got completely and thoroughly disrupted. Because, on a whim, I picked this up instead:


and oh good god it is amazing. it’s a bazillion pages long and I am devouring it.  Ladies? You’re gonna want to read this.  Gents?  this is a girly book. Buy it for a lady in your life, she will thank you. it’s sexy, has tons of awesome history stuff, it’s fast paced, and also, very sexy.


This stuff came into the house fairly recently too:

Lyre Thief

Down and Out in Purgatory, by Tim Powers, out in June from Subterranean Press. It’s Tim Powers, so I know it’s going to be good.

84 Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff’s famous 1970 account of her twenty year correspondence relationship with a rare book dealer.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I know how this story ends. please don’t wreck it in the comments for people who don’t know.

Worst Contact, edited by Hank Davis – a  new anthology of mostly older first contact stories. Promises to be entertaining

The Lyre Thief by Jennifer Fallon – out next week from Tor.  Neat premise, giggle-worthy character names.


too many books, not enough time,  reading plans turned upside down on a lark. the life of a book blogger, yeah?


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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.