the Little Red Reviewer

Posts Tagged ‘#AllTheFeels

Fellow lady-bloggers, I need your insight on something, because maybe you have had a similar experience as me.

Gents, you are welcome to read as well, but this is not a conversation for you, as you’ll see.



Sisters, lets talk about reading and blogging and PMS. Specifically, do you react more emotionally to books, to #allthefeels, to angsty stuff in books, when you are PMSing? Do you write more emotional reviews / blog posts when you are PMSy? Do you notice when it is happening?


Like, earlier today I finished a novel where the main character dies at the end. It wasn’t a surprise, in like the 2nd chapter, the main character tells the reader that they are dead at the end of the book. There was literally no other way for this book to end, except for the character to die. So what did I do when I got to the end, and this person, who isn’t really a likable person, dies? I burst out in ugly sobs, of course. Thanks PMS. I won’t tell you the book, because that is a huge spoiler for people who haven’t read it.


Also, my PMS can be fucking brutal*. I get every single emotion at once, and on a scale of one to ten, they are at about fourteen. This lasts for about five days, and I usually figure out what’s going on on like day three, when I realize I’ve said “about to cut a bitch” six times in one sentence. And it’s hard to describe in specifics to a doctor or to anyone really, because I have no idea how I compare to anyone else. Are my mood swings less or more than the medical average? Um, how the fuck would I know? Does eating high fiber vegetables, meditating, avoiding caffiene and alcohol, and putting my life on hold for 5 days help? Actually, yes. Do I have the flexibility in my life to do that for 5 days every month? Omg, that’s hilarious. Especially the part about avoiding caf and alc!


(what does seem to help? allowing the mood swings to happen, not feeling ashamed of them, and thousands of calories of carbs)


Honestly, for all I know my PMS is off the charts cray-cray. Or maybe it is completely normal. Or maybe I have it easy, and 80% of women have it way worse. It’s not a broken bone than I can compare to someone else’s x-ray, or an objective test score about reading comprehension or spelling. All I can do is ask questions along with the rest of us on the women’s health subreddit.

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I still have a few unread Kage Baker short stories, and I’m going to leave them unread for the time being.  I want there to still be some uncovered gems for me to find, in the future.

so I’m reading some other stuff!

it’s strange, I’m reading two fiction books at the same time right now, and they are SO drastically different. they’re both fantastic, but wow, I couldn’t have picked two books that were more different if I tried!

I’m reading Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and this book is so cute! Like, I know it wasn’t supposed to be a meet-cute book, it’s supposed to be a heroine’s journey through Mayan mythology book, but It. Is. Adorable. and I kinda need adorable right now?  The premise is that Casiopea starts in a sort of Cinderella situation. She’s living with family who treats her like garbage because the family didn’t approve of her father. They treat her like a servant, a male cousin treats her really, really poorly.  While the family is out one day, Casiopea opens the strange trunk in her father’s bedroom. And who is imprisoned inside the trunk? Hun-Kame, the Lord of Xibalba.  He was imprisoned by his brother, Vucub-Kame, who wanted to rule Xibalba.


is it terrible, that my only knowledge thus far, of Xibalba, comes from the movie The Road to El Dorado?  Yes, that is terrible.

I’m about half way through Gods of Jade and Shadow, and like I said, this book is so adorable.  It’s easy to read,  fun, perfectly paced, and the Mayan Gods are powerful, otherworldly, and yet constrained by the limitations built into their personas. Y’all know I love a story where a god is limited by their own myth, that because they are trapped in a specific myth, they have no free will. Also? Hun-Kame has no idea, whatsoever, how to talk to girls, and his conversations with Casiopea are adorable and often hilarious.  If you are looking for a fantasy adventure set in 1920’s Mexico, something easy on the eyes, and super fun to read, this is a book for you.


On the other hand, if you’re looking for something that takes a lot of energy to read, is #AllTheFeels #AllTheIntruigue , #AllTheHolyShitWHAT , bucket of political theory and a smidge of gruesome,  allow me to introduce you to Seth Dickson’s Masquerade trilogy (at least, I think it will only be 3 books, but who knows).  This is that book, where the young accountant Baru Cormorant crashes the economy because she can,  draws traitors and revolutionaries out because she can,  and executes the woman she loves because reasons.  These books read like the cruelest game of world politics ever played.  they are relentlessly brutal, and I can’t stop reading them!!


I was lucky enough to get an eArc of the third book in the series, The Tyrant Baru Cormorant (comes out in August, I think?), and my eyeballs don’t do well with e-books (oh hai, tension headache!), so I’m only reading it for short bursts, but holy shit is this book good.  it is heavy, and it is beautiful, the prose is gorgeous, and the characterization is even better, and I want to save everyone.  and omfg, the C!  I really like how this series made me look at colonialism and imperialism.  These aren’t message books, there is no preachiness, these books are just people trying to live their lives and minimize the compromises they have to make to survive after the colonizers show up. This series isn’t for everyone, but I really, really, fucking love it.  it isn’t grim, but it is brutal.  Did you read Yoon Ha Lee’s Machineries of Empire trilogy?  remember the brutal brainwashing (but it’s for the good of our survival!), think that, but times infinity.


one of the ways I’m getting through all this current stuff that we are all going through together, is by watching what feels like eight billion hours of Netflix.  seriously, Netflix could double their price and I’d still be ripping them off.


A co-worker recommended the Netflix reality show The Circle, so I gave it a try.

I’m not usually a reality TV watcher, but and I am addicted to The Circle!

Yes, this show sounds totally stupid, and it is totally stupid, but stupid TV is a balm. don’t judge me.

And? the episodes are about 55 minutes, which means I can get an excellent work out in on our exercise bike while I’m watching an episode.

ok, so the premise:

8 people move into their own apartments in what I’m calling “the circle apartment building”. They are quite nice, fully furnished one bedroom apartments.  The players each set up a profile, with 1-2 photos of themselves, and a short bio.


Some people are here to make friends,  some people are here to flirt with everyone. Everyone is here to win.


the players can ONLY communicate through chat rooms and private chats with each other.  This is their only way to get to know each other.  It’s like very limited facebook feed, I guess?   They secretly rate the other players,  and the top two rated people become the Influencers,  and it is the two Influencers who decide who gets voted off the island.


In chats, if you focus your attention two much on just a few people,  and none of those people become the Influencers, you risk that the Influencers haven’t had a chance to bond with you, and you’ll get Blocked (sent home).


If you are an influencer, and you get rid of someone everyone else really liked, you risk that you will get blocked next time.


The winner gets a ton of money



everytime someone gets voted off the island, a new player joins The Circle. New players usually get to spy on what’s going on before everyone else gets to meet them over chat.


Nearly everyone is totally trying to manipulate everyone else.


the fact that everyone is stuck in their apartments, with occasional solo trips to the rooftop garden, feels like something I can totally relate to right now!


a whole buncha these peeps are catfishing everyone else.  and it is WILD to watch them totally out of their league.   they all keep guessing, so far, incorrectly who the catfish is.  I’m wondering if we’ll get to the end, and all the remaining players will be catfishes?


I’m on episode 6, and having a blast.  We recently found out about Sammie’s family,  I nearly cried along with Joey when he saw that video prize, I died laughing with Seaburn didn’t know how to respond in GirlChat with Sean,  and I am #TeamShooby all the way.


The first episode of The Circle went out of the way to make every player look like a self centered asshole,  I appreciated that as the show went on,  people got to be more of themselves.  I don’t feel like anyone is an asshole now.


I like how real some of these people are being, with complete strangers.  Even the catfishes, in private they are genuine.  I don’t think anyone wants to deliberately hurt anyone else’s feelings. And most people are saying really honest things in the chat, things that make them vulnerable.


It’s like having that wall,  knowing the only things other people will ever know about you is the specific things you choose to tell them,  that you can be chatty in a chatroom or not . . .  it almost become armor. Almost becomes protection against pain or embarrassment.    (and I get it. there are things I say on this blog and other public places on the internet that I would never say to the people who are closest to me. it’s weird, right?)


and since people feel safer, they feel like they have a buffer/some armor, they are more likely to show their vulnerable side?  Even when they planned to come on this show to be a manipulator.


but it’s also like – what would you do win all that money? What wouldn’t you do?


I’m really enjoying this stupid show.   I feel like a shit,  because back in the day when reality shows were super new, and the only ones going were Survivor and The Bachelorette, I made fun of people who watched those, because i thought the shows were stupid, and if you watched them, you must be stupid too.


hey peeps who I was an asshole to about reality TV when I was 25 years old, I know this apology is 15 years too late, but I’m sorry I was judgy to you about TV shows you enjoyed.  Because I get it now.




nemesis-games-coreyNemesis Games (The Expanse #5) by James S.A. Corey

published in 2015

where I got it: purchased new




When Leviathan Wakes first came out, I just about forced my husband to read it. We were both starved for space adventure/space opera, and Holden and his crew felt a lot like our other favorite space adventure crew, that of Serenity.  Hubs and I took turns devouring the books. I stalled out at book four, so much so that I wasn’t interested in continuing with the series. But my better half powered through to Nemesis Games, and promised that a) I would love it b) it was completely different than the previous books in the series, and c) It went some dark, dark places.  He was right on all counts.


I’ve always referred to James Holden and his crew as “James Holden and his crew” because Jim was always the star of every scene he was in. Amos and Alex and Naomi seemed to instinctively shrink back when Jim opened his mouth.  It’s ok, he’s the protagonist, right? It’s a little like a Matthew McConaughey movie – did you even notice anyone else in that movie as soon as he shows up? No, you did not.   When Naomi, Alex, and Amos are with Jim, they are, as my better half so accurately put it, “Jim’s appendages”.  It’s an apt description.  Ok, so who are these folks when Jim isn’t in the room getting all the attention?


It’s a great question, and it’s exactly half the plot of Nemesis Games.  The other half of the plot is the space opera politics, action, and wheels within wheels this series has delivered from page one.  Warning: minor spoilers ahead!


Back from Ilus, and uninterested in ever leaving the solar system again, Holden and crew have enough funds to get their beaten up ship fixed up and chill out for a while. Amos gets a call that a friend has died, so he rushes to Earth to pay his respects.  Alex heads to Mars to look up his ex-wife and see if maybe they can’t patch things up. An Naomi gets a call afterwards which she refuses to tell Jim where she’s going and for weeks doesn’t answer his calls.


This is where things get interesting.  You, as the reader, think Jim Holden is a good guy, right? You, as the reader, assume Naomi, Alex, and Amos, by dint of association, are good guys, right?  What do you think their childhood was like? What do you think their young adulthood was like?  Holden, raised in a huge family, and given all the opportunities a child of Earth is given, assumes his friend’s lives were similar to his.  He assumes this because he is privileged.  He doesn’t want to know how different he really is from his best friends.

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CP5_front-200x300Clockwork Phoenix 5, edited by Mike Allen

Available April 5, 2016

Where I got it: received review copy from the editor






Some people describe anthologies as a journey.  I’ve been known to compare them to techno music. But  today, I’d like you to think about anthologies as restaurants – the stories are the dishes on the menu, and the editor is the restaurateur.   Some restaurants have great atmosphere, some restaurants you only like a few dishes on their menu, or maybe there is a great Sunday brunch, or maybe it’s just a super convenient location and the food is pretty darn good.  Think about restaurants you’ve returned to again and again. There was a reason, right?




Some restaurateurs love attention for one particular dish their restaurant specializes in, or whatever. Maybe they are the King of Deep Fried Butter, or the Home of the Original Whiskey Waffles.  Maybe they did a Taco throwdown with Bobby Flay or something.


And then there is that secret restaurant.  The one all the locals know about. It doesn’t look like a fancy place,  but every dish you’ve had there has been amazing. Sometimes the flavors are complex, sometimes they are simple.  You go as often as you can, with the goal of trying every dish on the unique menu before the menu changes, because the chefs and owners are always trying something new and different, because the rules don’t apply here. There are no rules, there is no pretension, there is no ego, there  are no signs proclaiming fame or autographed photos of Food Network personalities.  But, omg, the food! It is perfection on a plate! And you feel better about yourself and your life and the world every time you go there.  Clockwork Phoenix is the name of this restaurant, and Mike Allen is the restaurateur.  One sublime dish after another, and yet I still have my favorites that I keep coming back to.

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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.