the Little Red Reviewer

This post is part of The Gossamer Blog Tour! and it wouldn’t be a blog tour without a giveaway, now would it?  In the almost ten years that I have been blogging, I have NEVER seen a give away like this before!   Click for details! (Are you outside the US? Gotcha covered!)

Earlier today I posted a guest post from Julie Czerneda, where she takes us inside her worldbuilding process, and talks about maps and distances and that sometimes the map is the territory.

.

The Gossamer Mage by Julie Czerneda

Available August 6 2019

Where I got it: Received ARC (thanks DAW!)

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

 

Where I got it:  received for review (thanks DAW!)

Go ahead, judge a book by its cover.  Especially this book. The golden ink on that cover, you would swear that it moves when you look away.  What happens to the words that are written with such ink, with the intentions that come with those words?  What indeed.

 

Julie Czerneda’s newest fantasy novel, The Gossamer Mage, takes us to the beautiful land of Tananen.  In the port city, in the rolling hills, in the villages, in the mage school up in the mountains, magic flows through Tananen.  Mages and Priestesses commit their lives to the Deathless Goddess, and through Her, through writing Her intentions, amazing magic happens.  While the townspeople and villagers love the magical medicines, technologies, machines, and trinkets, those intimately involved with Her magic know the terrible cost of what they do.  Travelers and traders have learned the hard way that magic only exists within the boundaries of Tananen, and that the Deathless Goddess is not welcoming to strangers. She protects Her secrets.

 

The Gossamer Mage is a quietly compelling, character driven, smartly written fantasy. If you crave characters that leap off the page, if you  prefer knowledge over swords, if you liked Fullmetal Alchemist (really! There’s a connection!), this is the book for you.

 

The first thing that hit me while reading The Gossamer Mage was how much I loved the way Czerneda did the world building.  I feel like if I took a drive, Tananen could be over the next hilltop and I’d know exactly where I was. Czerneda’s writing is incredibly immersive, but it never feels like she is burying the reader in exposition or infodumps.  As characters travel around Tananen, she takes the opportunity to show their experiences and observations as they explore their new locations, everything feels immersive and natural.

 

Magic in Tananen isn’t cheap.  Getting a magical trinket, or a made-horse from a mage won’t cost you very much. . .  but it costs the mage dearly.   Magic is done by writing the Goddess’s Intentions, and each  successfully written intention costs the mage at least a year off their lifespan.  The more bells sewn into a mage’s hair, the more intentions they have written, the less years they have left to live.  A 30 year old mage easily appears to be 85 years of age, or older. It is an honor for your child to show the talent that will take them to the mage school.  Mothers weep at the news, knowing they will outlive their child.

Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Happy Friday!   My friends, I regret to tell you that I do not have a Five for Friday post today.  Allow me to make it up with not one but TWO blog posts AND a give away!

 

I am so excited for Julie Czerneda’s forthcoming fantasy novel The Gossamer Mage to come into the world. This booooooook!!!!!!!!!!   the characters! the magic!   the everything!!!   More on all that later today, stop by the blog after 2pm Eastern Time to read the review.  In the mean, I have an amazing guest post from Julie Czerneda, where she talks about how, when it comes to storytelling, the map is the territory.

 

You like maps? me too!  you’re gonna love this post!

 

This is an image heavy post, so please be patient if the images take a moment to load.  While you’re waiting,  head over to the giveaway page (outside the US? Click here for the International giveaway!)and get yourself entered for, are you ready for this?   A set of the Julie Czerneda Library: more than a dozen of her books, all signed.  I’ve been blogging nearly ten years and I have never seen a giveaway that comes close to this!

 

About Julie Czerneda:

What is magic? As imagined by Julie E. Czerneda, it’s wild and free, a force of nature and source of wonder. She first explored this theme in her Night’s Edge series, starting with the award-winning Turn of Light. In The Gossamer Mage, Julie goes further, envisioning magic not only as integral to landscape and history, but well aware what we’re doing with it. That tie between us and other, the profound changes we make by connecting, have always informed her work, be it fantasy or science fiction.

Mage is Julie’s twentieth novel published by DAW Books, and she couldn’t be more proud to belong to this esteemed publishing family. For more about Julie and her work, please visit czerneda.com.

photography credit: Roger Czerneda Photography

 

(Andrea’s note: Since she neglected to mention it, I will:  Both Turn of Light and A Play of Shadow won the  Aurora Award, and that’s only half of the Aurora Awards she has won! Also, I LOVE those glasses frames!)

 

About The Gossamer Mage (Available Aug 6th 2019 from DAW books)

 

From an Aurora Award-winning author comes a new fantasy epic in which one mage must stand against a Deathless Goddess who controls all magic.

.

Only in Tananen do people worship a single deity: the Deathless Goddess. Only in this small, forbidden realm are there those haunted by words of no language known to woman or man. The words are Her Gift, and they summon magic.

.

Mage scribes learn to write Her words as intentions: spells to make beasts or plants, designed to any purpose. If an intention is flawed, what the mage creates is a gossamer: a magical creature as wild and free as it is costly for the mage.

.

For Her Gift comes at a steep price. Each successful intention ages a mage until they dare no more. But her magic demands to be used; the Deathless Goddess will take her fee, and mages will die.

.

To end this terrible toll, the greatest mage in Tananen vows to find and destroy Her. He has yet to learn She is all that protects Tananen from what waits outside. And all that keeps magic alive.

Is that not the most gorgeous cover art you’ve ever seen?

 

Y’all ready for some discussion about maps, worldbuilding, storytelling, and discovery?  ME TOO. Everything from here on is all Julie!

 

 

The Fantasy Maps of Tananen

by Julie E. Czerneda

.

I’m going to start with a confession. I don’t look at the maps in fantasy novels, being too interested in the words and the inner pictures they give me. After I’ve read the story, if I’ve loved it, I’ll take a peek because then the maps are an extra bit of happy. Oh, and midway through I’ll take a peek if I can’t get my inner picture of the geography, but in all honesty? In books like that, I’ve found the maps rarely help.
.
I do, however, make maps for myself.

Read the rest of this entry »

So, you’ve loved this one band for years. Years i say!  you’ve seen them in concert, bought the merch, back in the day you bought the physical albums (and the overpriced imports and live albums!!).  You told everyone you knew how much you loved this band.

 

and then their new album came out!

 

and you bought it!

 

and it was  .  .  .  .

 

pretty shitty, actually.

 

You listened to it a bunch of times, in hopes it would grow on you, and the only thing that grew was the hope that the band would go back to their old, wonderful music style. Yeah, yeah, you know they’ve gotten experimental lately, and every artist goes through those stages, but maybe next time they’ll experiment in a direction that you like more?

 

can you still call yourself a fan of theirs, if you think their new sounds sucks?

 

here’s what I’m really getting at:

What do you do when it isn’t a band whose new album isn’t to your tastes. . .  but it’s an author you like?

 

You loved their early stuff.  you special ordered signed editions. You bought all their books in hardcover!  You drove hours to see them at a booksigning (you’ve probably done this multiple times), and waited in line for a few hours to get your book signed and when you finally got to the front of the line and the person politely thanked you for coming you said some requisite stupid fangirl/fanboy thing like “omgiloveyourbookssomuchthankyouforbreathingthesameairibreathe”.

 

and you are SO EXCITED for their new book!

 

and it finally came out, and you got it and . . .

 

DNF’d it.

 

because while it was well written, it absolutely, truly, was not to your tastes and you just didn’t enjoy reading it.

 

what do you do now?   How do you respond when you friends say “you love so and so’s work, right? didn’t they have a new book come out?”

 

Can you still consider yourself a fan of this author?  Was this new book just an experimental phase, and maybe they’ll go back to writing the way they used to?  How do you reconcile your “omg, i love this author so much!”,  with your feels towards their new book?

 

and worst of all . . . is this just how art works?  A musician or author or artist or film maker makes something you love, and you love the thing and you love the creator of the thing. . . .   but the fact that you liked it, that was just a happy accident, as far as the artist and the universe is concerned.  The artist’s obligation isn’t to you, right? Their obligation is to their own need to create art.

 

 

and while I ruminate on that  I’m gonna go listen to Folie a Deux another hundred times, because every track on that album is GOLD.  Save Rock and Roll only had like 2 good tracks and the rest sucked (also, did Katy Perry write “Where did the Party Go?”).  Guess i can’t call myself a Fallout Boy fan anymore, since i think their new stuff is just meh. I didn’t even buy American Beauty/American Psycho.

Welcome to  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?

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

 

 

I’m changing it up this week, and sharing five cookbooks!

My husband and I love cooking together, and tbh, my favorite thing about cooking is making meals with and for people I care about.  Dinners made with four hands just taste better.   Hubs and I have been cooking together for 20 years now.

French Food at Home – this is probably my most used cookbook. I call it my “cheater” French cookbook because French food should not be this straightforward!  Her recipes are easy to follow, flexible if you need to swap something, always delicious, and look really fancy.  Most of the recipes are 8 ingredients or less, and she has cute/funny intros for most of them.  Passover at our house is delicious because of this cookbook.

 

A Feast of Ice and Fire –  Before the tv show, there was this food blog called Inn at the Crossroads (and before that there was this unfinished series of books. . . ) where two cooks recreated the meals described in A Song of Ice and Fire and other fictional worlds.   If you are into food history, and what ingredients were available historically in what locations, this is the book for you!  The “old recipes” are fun to read, the food history is excellent, the pictures are gorgeous. The recipes tho? actually just so-so.  It’s just a hella cool cookbook to have on my shelf!

 

Japanese Soul Cooking – one of our newer cookbooks. A whole chapter on Japanese Curry! Okonomiyaki is now my fave dinner!  We’ve not even tried the fried stuff chapters yet.  Great photos and  easy to follow recipes that are designed for American eaters.  i do wish this book had a recipe for mochi, I’ve had to depend on youtube.

 

Regional Chinese Cooking – i picked this up years ago, it was a library discard.  This is from the 80s, I think, so the few photos that are in the book are terrible, and the salt content will probably kill you.  But every recipes works,  the sauces thicken exactly as they are supposed to, the instructions are perfect, and we just cut the salt in half. This is where I learned how to make pleated dumplings from scratch.

 

Bob’s Red Mill Everyday Gluten Free Cookbook – I don’t miss bread, I miss beer. a lot.   this book is everything you didn’t know you could do with quinoa, chia, buckwheat, amaranth, sorghum, oats, and a whole bunch of other gluten free grains that I’ve never heard of.  Quinoa chia crackers and oat pear scones are my new BFF.   Quinoa is great in the summer because it cooks fast on the stove,  Sorghum is freakin’ delicious, and someone please tell me how to make Amaranth not taste and smell disgusting.

 

do you like to cook?  what cookbooks on your shelf are your go-to’s?   or do you get your recipes off pinterest?

Tags:

Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist by Lola Robles, translated by Lawrence Schimel

first English edition 2016, originally published in Spanish in 2005

where I got it: purchased new

.

.

.

.

.

.

What’s twitter and social media good for, you ask?  Of course I can’t find the tweet now, but Rachel Cordasco recommended this book to me during a twitter chat. She knows I love anything having to do with language, communication, and linguistics, and she knows I love science fiction.  Without the power of social media, I would never have known this wonderful little book existed.

 

Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist, is exactly what it says on the tin – this is a short (too short!) memoir of Rachel Monteverde, the first linguist from Earth to visit the planet Aanuk.   Told through a combination of diary entries, excerpts from papers, and excerpts from interviews, Monteverde: Memoirs of an Interstellar Linguist is part The Left Hand of Darkness, part A Natural History of Dragons, and entirely something new and wonderful and beautiful and glorious. Stories are words on a page, but language transcends.

 

I loved this book for the observations about how language evolves because of how it’s speakers interact with the world.  I know that sounds kind of obvious, but Robles takes it in directions I didn’t even think of, and she literally shows this to the speakers who are so steeped in their own languages, societies, and cultures, that they never before saw/heard what was happening.

 

Aanuk had been colonized by humans generations ago, a ship had crash landed there. . . and then forgotten about.   The planet had plenty of easily available food, plenty of sheltered areas, and no large predators, so the survivors of the crash did quite well for themselves in their new idyllic home.  Too far away to be worth travelling to, not enough natural resources to be worth developing, the forced colonists lost contact with Earth and that was fine with them.

When it was finally rediscovered, Aanuk gained the nickname “Paradise”, for its beautiful and vividly colored forests, it’s lovely beaches, and it’s rolling hills.  Aanuk has more than enough seafood, grazing land, orchards, and space for everyone. While there are small domestic disputes, there has never been war on Aanuk. The Aanukians are never in a hurry to get anywhere, they never seem in a hurry to have knowledge before someone else. Airplanes and the printing press never took off, as anything more than passing novelties.  To a foreigner, living on Aanuk seems like a never ending relaxed vacation. Rachel Monteverde was thrilled to get to spend a year there, learning the Aanukian language (and maybe even a few words of the Fihdian language). She has a secret mission, as well.

Read the rest of this entry »

Ten years ago I wouldn’t have known a novella if one bit me on the ass.

 

Five years ago,  novellas were those things in short story collections that I avoided, because I thought they were too long.

 

Novellas are weird little things – way way too long to be short story,  way way to short to be a novel. The author doesn’t have to worry about the space limitations of a short story, but they don’t have the space to tell a generation spanning sprawling epic, either.

 

if short stories are the Tiny Houses of the story telling world, and doorstopper novels are the McMansions,  then novellas sit in the goldilocks zone of just the right size. You know that house that’s just big enough for your family and your pets and all your stuff (and it’s got a great backyard!), but no so large that you have to “fill it up” with furniture, clutter, and other crap you don’t need?  That’s a novella.

 

Because there are space limitations, the author does have to make every word, every scene count, there’s no space for extraneous scenes that don’t push the story forward.  But because the author has more space than they would if they were writing say, a 5,000 word story,  there’s plenty of space for characterization,  great dialog, action, plenty of space (between 100 and 200 pages worth!) for the reader to get completely immersed in what is going on.

 

These last few years, Tor has been absolutely rocking the novella game.  Ten years ago I would have said “you want how much money for a 150 page book???”  and because of the excellent novellas that have been coming out recently, these days I’m more like “A book I can read in an afternoon? Shut up and take my money!”

 

Introduction over,  let’s talk about super fun science fiction and fantasy novellas that have come out these last few years.  This is no where close to an exhaustive list of all the wonderful novellas that have come out in the last few years, just a handful of my favorites. If you’re not sure about novellas,  here are some great ones to start with:

 

All Systems Red by Martha Wells – you haven’t read Murderbot yet?  Do not pass go, do not collect $200. Go to the bookstore and get yourself some Murderbot diaries novellas!  you can thank me later.  There are four novellas in this series, and if they aren’t yet available as an omnibus, I’m sure they will be soon.

 

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor – Oh, you like brilliant mathematicians who have to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night, and survive and alien attack, all so she can go the galactic university? yeah, things get kinda awkward when she does back home. Another must read, there are 3 novellas in this series, and it is available as an omnibus.

 

Acadie by Dave Hutchinson – if you like snark, strong narrative voices, and the best twist of the year, this is the novella for you!  yes, this is one of those stories where once you’ve read it once and you know what the twist is, what’s the point of reading it again?  That said, I’ve read this at least three times because it’s just that  entertaining.

 

If you enjoy the Iron Druid series from Kevin Hearne, then you’ll love his novella series of Oberon’s Meaty Mysteries, which starts with The Squirrel on the Train. told from Oberon’s point of view, these are hilarious and adorable cozy mysteries. But really, it’s about Oberon getting good snacks, and Atticus not getting the spotlight.

 

The Inconvenient God by Francesca Forrest – if you like mythology, and how people have a bad habit of changing myths and gods to match what they happen to need that year, this is the novella (or maybe a novelette?) for you.

 

Winterglass by Benjanun Sriduangkaew –  a scifi retelling of The Snow Queen,  but with better characters than the original,  climate change,  aunties who play the long game, and ghost kilns which I am still scared of.  Sriduangkaew’s prose is gorgeous and poetic, transporting the reader to lush semi-tropical worlds,  virtual mazes, and iced over landscapes.

 

Time Was by Ian McDonald – time travel, romance, dusty bookstores, secret messages left across the world tucked into strange books that the bookseller isn’t allowed to sell. Excellent characters that leap off the page. Another novella I’ve read a few times now, just for the excuse of spending more time with these characters.

 

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett – do you have a strong stomach? You’ll need it, but it’s worth it for this hard hitting, harder to swallow story about staying armed, staying vigilant, and reality tv gone farther than it ever should.  More people need to read this vicious little cautionary tale, I need to talk about it with people!

 

Penric’s Demon by Lois McMaster Bujold – she writes fantasy too!  When a “demon” attaches itself to Penric, that boy is gonna have to grow up real, real fast. As it turns out, Penric was exactly the right person for Desdemona to bind herself to. Compelling, heartfelt, and humorous, the first novella reads as a stand alone, and if you like it, there’s a few more short reads in this series.

 

this list barely scratches the surface of all the novella wonderfulness out there!  what have been some of your fave novellas to read?  What recommendations do you have for folks who haven’t yet discovered the goldilocks land of novellas?

 

 

 

Welcome to  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?

 

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

Agatha H and the Airship City by Phil and Kaja Foglio (2011) – raise you hand if you remember the Girl Genius webcomic that became a graphic novel?  There are novels toooo!!!!   less artwork but more exposition, world building, and characterization.  if you miss the madcap adventures of Agatha Clay. . .   this is for you!  Published by Nightshade Books in the beforetime, so, most likely out of print.

 

Ivory Apples by Lisa Goldstein (2019) – this ARC arrived today, and YOU GUYS I AM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!   it sounds quiet and mysterious and compelling, and everything Andrea’s love.  if I disappear off the face of the Earth, it’s because i started reading this book!

 

A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan (2014) – I was thinking about this series the other day, and how I really need to finish it. I stopped reading it because some of the stuff that happened to the main character was hitting to close to home for me (does that happen to other people, or just me?). The main character is an evolutionary biologist who studies. . .  dragons!!   Written as a memoir,  now she’s older, and is out of F’s to give, but still has some secrets she’d prefer not to talk about.

 

Household Gods by Judith Tarr and Harry Turtledove  (1999) – do you like portal fantasies? do you like well researched time travel stories?  yes? this is for you!  A modern woman wakes up in a Roman frontier town.  She needs to get home!!  But if she’s gonna be stuck in the past for a while, she might as well get used to it.  The past is disease ridden, stinky, and filthy, but at least she doesn’t have to deal with loud neighbors and a job she hates. right?

 

Man of Two Worlds by Frank Herbert and Brian Herbert (1986) – i’m pretty sure this is the only work that father and son worked on together. It was published the year Frank Herbert died.  I read this like 10 years ago and remember enjoying it. Something about how a human and an alien are forced to share one body due to a gruesome accident.  But the alien homeworld is under threat, and if the human guy in the body interferes, the alien world could be destroyed for good. I don’t remember the details, but I remember liking it.  Would like to reread it sometime.

Follow me on Twitter!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,351 other followers

Follow the Little Red Reviewer on WordPress.com

Archives

Categories

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.
Advertisements