Tagged book review

Coop De Book Pick & Review ~ TJ Klune’s The Lightning-Struck Heart (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Alright, my darling Gentle Reader, I decided to end our reading year on an upswing. For my final book of 2017 I chose The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune.

Why did you choose this book, Gail?

For those who know my taste you will know this has many things I like. Adorable snarky gay boy main character. Lots of awesome magic. Really fun fantasy setting. But honestly…

It’s hilarious.

No seriously, I was reading it last night and actually crying with laughter.

Well that might have been because is was two in the morning and I was trying not to wake up the AB.

I haven’t laughed this hard since Ridiculous!. Possibly not even then.

The Lightning-Struck Heart is really that funny.

I think we all need to read something this wonderfully irreverent right now.

Need more persuading?

So I resisted reading any more of Klune (despite a killer reputation) because I read Wolfsong.

Let me very clear. Wolfsong is a strangely haunting, brilliant, and poignant gay shifter not-quite romance. But also full of weird character inconsistencies (particularly the motivations behind the love interest) and (to my mind) desperately needed a heavier hand on the developmental edit pass. (For which I get to blame a trad publisher in this instance. Honestly, sometimes I wonder about Dreamspinner.)

Wolfsong was also too long… for me.

(Incidentally, The Summage Solution narrator Kirt Graves also narrates Wolfsong. Check him out this month’s episode of the Top 2 Botm Podcast. They chat about Kirt narrating The Sumage Solution, audio narration, and he geeks out about drag queens.)

Back to Klune…

Reading The Lightning-Struck Heart, I realize that Klune may simply write epic length stuff. This one is kicking it on the order of 400 pages, which explains the $18 price tag for trade paperback. 

There is nothing objectively wrong with long, it’s just not to my taste. Instead of gobbling the book up in one weekend (my normal habit – we all have vices) a Klune book will take me several days.

So treat yourself, it’s so worth it. Try the sample, see if you don’t snort with laughter at least once.

Betcha can’t stop…

Yours,

Miss Gail

Do you want more book recs and sale deals? Extra picks go to my Chirrup members, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

P.S. Chirrup members are getting a chance to win one of three very limited Soulless hard covers from Subterranean Press this month. If you join before the next one goes out on Sunday, you too can enter.

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for December is The Lightning-Struck Heart (Tales From Verania Book 1) by TJ Klune.

OUT NOW!

Amazon | Kobo | B&N | iBooks | Direct

Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella by Gail Carriger is now available (audio will follow).

Gay reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and some unexpected holiday gifts.

Love Bytes Reviews says of Romancing the Werewolf:

“It was funny and sweet, with just a dash of the odd that makes Carriger’s books so worth reading.”

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.

    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.

    There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy werewolf with a powerful crush. Shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia)
Halt, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888

This reminds me of Irene’s carriage dress in Forsyte Saga.

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

20 Minute Delay latest episode is all about packing!

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Five Ways to Touch Your Favorite Author’s Heart

Book News:

Beyond the Trope Interview’s Yours Truly:
Direct Link
iTunes
Stitcher

Quote of the Day:

“I need to send you squash in kimono!”

~ Secilia on Twitter (Don’t get it, read Romancing the Werewolf)

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


Coop de Book Review ~ The Blue Sword (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

When people talk about The Blue Sword, Gentle Reader, they often feel compelled to mention The Hero and the Crown. These two books are intimately connected, although each stands alone (the one is a legend in the other).

There are many out there who think The Hero and the Crown the better book. I genuinely like them both, but I read The Blue Sword first and Hari is my one true love.

Alanna was my first girl with a sword and magic, Hari was the first one I felt was like me.

That’s part of it.

I also always liked the romance line better in The Blue Sword. There’s something remarkable in that, because for most of this book the two leads are separated. Yet I believe in their love unquestionably.

Also I find the story is closer, more character driven, and more intimate in Blue. Hero always felt a bit more like a legend being told around a fireplace ~ a little distanced, as if I were watching the characters from far above.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for September is The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip.}

SCRIBBLES ROUND UP

  • Meat Cute ~ A Parasolverse Short
    Status: Rough draft complete. Layaway.
    Possible anchor short story for Secret Project A or SS collected/omnibus in 2018 or 2019.
  • TOC ~ San Andreas Shifters #2
    Status: Writing Rough draft.
    The werewolves are back. There’s a bartender with a mysterious ability and a big scruffy man mountain with a powerful crush. The pack’s started a business called Heavy Lifting. Gail is contemplating shifter food trucks ~ Do it raw! Sometimes we wiggle, sometimes the food does.

NOW IN DIGITAL, PRINT & AUDIO!

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger, now also in audio.
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

(c) Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Behind the Scenes at The Costume Institute Conservation Laboratory: House of Worth Ball Gown

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Freelance Achievement Stickers

Book News:

Cover art pose similarity, the hip cock elbow

Stephanie of Cover2Cover Blog says of Curtsies & Conspiracies:

“I really love how the girls always get into a mess and have to work their way out of it – strong females are wonderful. I also loved the humor, there is always the comic relief of a mechanical wiener dog if nothing else. Bumbersnoot makes me giggle and I love it.”

Quote of the Day:

“Editing to do list today includes “organize & pain” as opposed to “organize & plan.” Same difference, I suppose.”

~ Self

Questions about Gail’s Parasolverse? There’s a wiki for that!


This Month’s Coop de Book ~ Local Custom by Lee & Miller (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

So for June’s Coop de Book I have chosen one of my favorite space operas, Local Custom by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller.

This a sweet star crossed lovers (literally) romance full of fraught cultural conflict and deep emotional trauma. Of course, I adore it.

If you are the type of reader who likes tucking into a vast world, you are in for a treat. The Liaden Universe is massive with well over 20 books, some stand alone, some series. Most of the paperbacks are OP but the authors are putting them all out in ebook (forgive the cover art… or lack thereof). Don’t worry there are forums and wikis to help you along. And you don’t need to have read anything else in this universe to enjoy this book. Be warned though, this is by far the sweetest of any Liaden books, so don’t look for any of the others to be quite this romantic.

A quick word on Radiance by Grace Draven. I do hope you all enjoyed it. I don’t have time for a full review at the moment but I did love this book. I heard from a reliable source that the second book, Eidolon is also very good AND nicely ties up the series, in other words it exists as a duology. So I picked it up to try while I am traveling next week.

{Gail’s monthly read along for June is Local Custom by Lee & Miller.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Poison or Protect Audiobook.
    StatusOut now!
    Can one gentle Highland soldier woo Victorian London’s most scandalous lady assassin, or will they both be destroyed in the attempt?

COMING SOON

The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters #1 by G. L. Carriger
Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

Can a gentle werewolf heal the heart of a smart-mouthed mage?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Allen & Ginter (American, Richmond, Virginia) Eyes Right, from the Parasol Drills series (N18) for Allen & Ginter Cigarettes Brands, 1888
American, Commercial color lithograph

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Steampunk Clock Art

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Put the Science in your Science Fiction

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Writing Career Mistakes I Made So You Don’t Have To

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”

~ Oscar Wilde

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Coop de Book Review ~ Brother’s Ruin (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

I know this is a book review, Gentle Reader, but I hope you will forgive me if I do it with my author hat on.

Which is a very floofy hat, mind you.

One of the things I like most about Brother’s Ruin is the way Em layers in her tension points. As we open the book we see two characters standing still in a sea of humanity. Then we learn the first tension point: our heroine,Charlotte, is an artist trying to make it in a man’s world. Then we get the second: the magi stealing children. Then we learn her beloved brother is ill. And then after we return to the comparative safety of home, the punch of a father’s mounting debt.

Now we know Charlotte is weighed down by many burdens: disenfranchisement, secrecy, fear, grief, and financial hardship. These are all identifiable things to most readers, we have all suffered fear and sickness, financial insecurity and societal dismissal as a result of age, sex, gender, personal preferences, or race. (Well, most SF/F readers have.) This makes Charlotte very sympathetic as a character and us, as readers, very invested in seeing her climb her way out of this depressive cess-pit in which she finds herself.

All that in the first 20% of the novella!

As the final straw we see Charlotte’s attempt at her own salvation, an inappropriate but fiscally logical marriage. The modern eye sees this as a flawed choice from the get go, because we (as readers) are trained to prefer our heroine to solve her own problems through strength of ability, not marriage. So we hope this match fails.

At this juncture when the magi appear, Charlotte is then driven into her adventure (heeds the call, if you would).

I’m not going to review further because to do so would give things away, and this is, not really much of a review. Ah well, more me admiring a most excellent set up and highly skilled author. It happens, sometimes I’m more author than reader. I do hope that you, as readers, also enjoyed this book.

Want more?

Well, Em promises more in this series, which I do hope materializes in the meantime…

If you enjoyed this book and are interested in something similar in style, if not exactly the same, I suggest giving Jordan Hawk’s Hex series a try. You can begin with her $0.99 short story to see if you like the world, The 13th Hex. There are two books and another short that follow.

This Month’s Book Pick

Radiance by Grace Draven

~THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE~

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

~THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE~

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

{Gail’s monthly read along for May is Radiance by Grace Draven.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: Formatting
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1900 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr Walking dress, 1900, Europe

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Shelf In Office

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why the Octopus Lost Its Shell

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Don’t Know About Authors on Book Tour

Book News:

Running now!

Quote of the Day:

“Writers have no real area of expertise. They are merely generalists with a highly inflamed sense of punctuation.”

~ Lorrie Moore

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Coop de Book Review: Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Hello Gentle Reader! Notice I have NAMED the book group? Henceforth we shall be known as “Coop de Book” kind of a play on Carriger Pigeons.

Anycoo…

(See what I did there, huh huh?

So this last month I chose Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith which is actually an omnibus of two shorter works. I, however, always read it is one book (albeit in two parts) so that’s how I’ll approach it.

I picked it up back in 2014 from a Goodreads Recommendation List “Books to Read if You Like Tamora Pierce” or something similar. It was a great recommendation. I really enjoyed this book and have reread it a half dozen times since then.

I hope you will forgive me if I review it by comparing it to a lot of other books I love. Because, well, that’s just kinda how it works in my head. The first part really does remind me of Tamora Pierce’s Alanna or Robin McKinley’s Blue Sword, perhaps with a little Ever After movie thrown in.

“Welcome among us. What is your name?” I said.
“Jerrol, as it pleases you, my lady.” And again the bow.
“Well, it’s your name if it pleases me or not.”

The second part, however, is more reminiscent of later political YA like The Selection or To Play the Lady. In which our brash bold outrageous hero, must learn the subtle art of court manipulations.

“She couldn’t read or write, wouldn’t even sit still indoors. All summer she would disappear for a week at a time, roaming in the hills. I think she knows more about the ways of the Hill Folk than she does about what actually happens at Court.”

In a way, this is the journey my YA reading took. From these simpler takes on the hero’s journey that were common in the 80s and 90s to the politically driven stuff that owes a lot, I think, to feedback loops between YA fantasy and adult epic fantasy and space opera.

I really like this journey told in one book, it’s not often one you see with the same character. All too often they style of a YA fantasy novel is either one or the other. It’s fun to watch a character archetype of the first kind, transition to the second.

You can even see it in the cover art, where the first image above shows an old-fashioned Pierce-like cover while the second shows a more current style icon cover (made popular by Twilight and then the Hunger Games books).

One of my favorite things about this book is the romance thread. I love the secret letter writing confessional (very Ella Enchanted) and I am a huge fan of the enemies to lovers romantic trope (AKA the Pride & Prejudice model).

Shevraeth said, “I’m very much afraid it’s my fault. We met under the worst of circumstances, and we seem to have misunderstood one another to a lethal degree.”

I like how Mel’s willful misunderstanding of Shevraeth is part of her generally stubborn and blundering country-girl personality. She is wild and willfully ignorant (huh, yet again with the Lizzy Bennett comparison) and that is why she can’t and won’t understand his careful political maneuverings, and also his own reserved interest. They are good match in the end, because they are so different.

Again like Lizzy and Darcy.

And like them she refuses to do anything but call him by his last name.

In the end a fun book and a  chronic re-read for me. A good offering to YA fans of wide tastes in the fantasy genre, both old fashioned and modern. I hope you all felt the same.

Join the discussion on Goodreads.

{Gail’s monthly read along for April is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

PROJECT ROUND UP

  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel by G. L. Carriger
    Status: With Copy Editor
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance featuring a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

Romancing the Inventor in Audiobook. A maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Emile Bernard (French artist, 1858-1941) Breton Girls with Parasols 1892

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Gendered Mind (podcast)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

5 Cases of a Missing Hyphen

Book News:

Quote of the Day:

Questions about Gail’s steampunk world? There’s a wiki for that!
Share & Enjoy!


Occasional FAQ: Blurb & Review Requests

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

May I tell you a little story, Gentle Reader?

Once upon a time (OK several years ago now) there was an author who also liked to read, but she was picky. Very picky. She liked specific things in her books, very specific things. However, quite apart from matters of taste, one consequence of editing is an eye for mistakes. (Not necessarily her own, and certainly not spelling, but other kinds of mistakes.) She has her little areas of expertise (food, fashion, Victorian London) and she has an ex-academic’s horror when she spots an error. (Yes, I know of the bad copy edit in Prudence. I promise: not my fault. Ask me about it in person over drinks someday…)

This author has an active social media base, some uber fans, and several loyal readers. She feels like she owes them a great deal for their support of her work. She doesn’t want to suggest that they read a book she doesn’t herself adore. That would be a betrayal of trust. She doesn’t want to “just find one nice thing to say” about a book she wouldn’t ordinarily recommend ~ because that would cheapen her honor and feel disingenuous.

She has author friends.

Most of these friends do not write the kind of books she likes to read. Most of them understand this. Most of them don’t really like her books all that much either (if they bother to read them). Reading is a matter of taste. Most authors get this. It’s how we coexist. It’s how we survive bad reviews.

One day one of these dear author friends hands over their latest book.

She hates it. Not just a little, but a lot. It not only isn’t to her taste, it’s insulting in its lack of research, and it’s pat in plot and character.

She struggles. She comes up with a few modest compliments but she declines to blurb on the basis of being unable to finish. (Assumption, she doesn’t have the time… actuality, she screamed and threw the manuscript across the room.) She doesn’t say anything negative.

The other author does not take this well. There were lashings out, recriminations, snarky remarks. There was even a bit of trolling. The friendship was no more. Tears were shed.

The End

You want to know why I don’t blurb books as a rule? That’s why. It burned me very very badly.

Insert the snarky comments:

“Oh, boohoo, poor little Gail.”
A comment like this makes me think you actually haven’t read my books. However, if you have read my books, I hope you know two things about me: loyalty and integrity are super important. Being asked to choose between the two: integrity to my readers or loyalty to my friends, puts me in the WORST possible position. Frankly, I don’t want to be put there ever again. And guess what? I get to make the decision to protect myself.

“I’m going to ask you anyway.”
That is your prerogative, of course, and I might read your book. But the most likely response you’ll get is: sorry, I didn’t have time. Sometimes, I don’t have time. (Like right now ~ ARGH.) Sometimes this is code for “I don’t want to hurt your feelings.” Often, when I do have time, I want to read something I WANT to read. I know, call me crazy. I don’t have much reading time, I’m going to spend it on books I love. Be a professional, accept “I don’t have time.”

“Well, so nice for you that your fellow authors didn’t feel like that at the beginning of your career.”
Yeah, it is. And I am so very grateful to people like Angie Fox who blurbed Soulless. I have struggled for a way to give back while keeping my integrity intact and my friendships safe.

Here’s what I will do: 

  • Run a book group, Coop de Book, and pick books I like and encourage others to read them with me. Partly to support my fellow authors, but also so that I have an ongoing answer to the perennial questions: “What is Gail reading?” and “What do you suggest I read while you are busy writing?” and “What are some of your favorite books?”
  • Review the books that I love and have discovered on my own. I try to pick debut novels. I try to pick lesser known authors. I try to find old favorites being given new life in the digital age. I post my reviews on Goodreads and here on the blog.
  • If they are easy to contact, I will reach out to the author to let them know I have reviewed them. They may choose to use a quote if they like.
  • Offer an author interviews here on the blog. Because I’m an author too, I ask them silly questions they don’t normally get. It’s fun for all.

Here’s what I won’t do:

  • Interface with publicists. They make me sign nasty agreements that display a complete lack of social media savvy. They don’t know anything about me except my sales figures. They send me canned queries. I deal with enough of that in my career already, thank you very much.
  • Say I like something when I don’t. Ever, for any reason.
  • Publicly slag a book I didn’t like. Yes, I like being warned off bad books myself, but I don’t feel that’s my role to fill.

Here’s Chuck: Why I Don’t Like To Negatively Review Other Authors’ Books

How Scalzi addressed this concern: On Book Reviews at Whatever

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Petit Courrier des Dames Date-  Tuesday, September 1, 1840 Item ID-  v. 23, plate 20

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
The City Of Dreams Pavilion On Governors Island In New York

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Speculative Fiction that Passes the Bechdel Test

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
A.M. Dellamonica asks who was your literary heroine?

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! In production.
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Dez of Rock N Rococo says of Etiquette & Espionage: “It’s a fantastic YA Steampunk novel that I highly recommend. As always, Gail Carriger’s writing style is clever and charming, as are her characters. I hope you’ll take the time to read it if you get the chance!”

Quote of the Day:
“Locking myself in my childhood room, I pile my chestnut hair and pull them into a tight ponytail.”
Hair is an it, not a them.
“I’d barely gotten through many practices, only to let my shattered tears out in the shower right after.”
Shattered tears? Really? REALLY?
~ Author name redacted to protect the guilty.

… Bookbub has a lot to answer for.

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Book Reviews ~ Valor’s Choice & Courting Magic (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

So my recent book tour, Gentle Reader, involved a great number of 1-2 hour plane rides. This, in Gail’s world, means… READING. I had a number of things on my docket: a few ARCs I’d been slipped on the down low, not to mention March’s book pick… Valor’s Choice.

I hope you all enjoyed this novel and manged to get hold of it. There is a print version but only as an omnibus of the first two, A Confederation of Valor, and because I mainly read ebooks now, I didn’t notice, so I didn’t post about this when I picked the book. My bad. I did say something in the Goodreads discussion.

Anyway, if you liked the Paradox series you should enjoy Torin’s adventures, although they are a little more violent being as they take place during galactic wartime. The Valor series is military space opera written by a woman who really knows what she’s writing about. Marvelous characters and alien races, extremely snappy dialogue, an endearing heroine, and lots of fast action. I am a particular fan of this book (the first in the series) because it opens with a post sex pheromone hangover and ends with a battle based one of the early moments in the Zulu War (late 1870s).

“He laughed at her overly indignant reaction, and she carried the sound away with her, adding it to her armaments.”

Torin Kerr is one of my favorite main characters ever written. “She’ll build a ship and kick it off this planet with her own dainty foot before she lets us rot here.” She is tough without being mannish, hard to write (particularly from authors who themselves have no experience being a woman in a position of authority). I’ve found that many authors cop out by having their female bad-ass swear within the first 10 pages. Not that I object to swearing, I just think its weak characterization when a writer resorts to it as way of showing how “cool” and “down” and “tough” a warrior woman is. Yawn. Anyway, Huff never does this. Torin is a professional soldier without being abrasive, at times she is even kind – in a gruff military way.

“What was that, Staff?” 
“Just talking to myself, Ressk.” 
“The only way you can have an intelligent conversation?” 
“Don’t step on my lines, Private,” she advised with mock severity. “It makes me cranky.

Also Huff’s universe for the Confederation series is such fun. I love the idea of elder races that have basically forgotten how to fight, so they must recruit younger ones to do their dirty work, as a kind of member mercenary force. Reminds me of the 8th-12th century Caliphates with their Turkish garrisons, one entirely separate culture fighting for and supporting the older’s stuck up status quo. And yet Huff writes the younger races as intrinsically vicious and rather cheerful about violence. She says: the elders “convinced humanity to throw its military apparatus into space where they took to interstellar warfare the way the H’san took to cheese.” Also I love the other two young races: from the way they are described to the ideas behind their cultures to their interaction with humans.

“Military structure inadvertently encouraged gossip and di’Taykans practically considered it a competitive sport.”

Which brings me nicely to my favorite section in this book, possibly one of my very favorite quotes ever written.

“There are those who say you can judge a civilization by how much respect they grant their dead.”
“Really?” He pulled a handful of soft fruit off a vine as big around as his wrist, wiped off a few splatters of mud against his vest, gave them a thorough sniff, and popped them into his mouth. 
“If the dead has a large family, an internment on Dornage can take many days.” 
Kleers took another three steps and reached for some more fruit.
“Can’t say as I’m surprised.”
“How do the Krai treat their dead?” 
“We cook them and we eat them.” 
Thinks Deeply walked in silence for a moment or two. “And that is a sign of respect?” she asked at last. 

“Well, I’d have to say that depends on who does the cooking.”

Genius!

And then there are supporting characters. Much as I love them I have learned with Huff not to get too attached because she writes war unflinchingly and people will die. Still, it is hard to resist when she writes about them with such affection.

“Wonder why he’s looking so cheerful.”
“He’s a morning person. It’s one of his least endearing traits.”
 
“The clips are interchangeable, Haysole. Or were you paying less attention in basic than I thought?” 
He grinned up at her, and it almost masked the gray shadows on his face.
“I don’t think that’s possible, Staff.”
 

“I don’t think so, Private. We need that latrine dug before the Silsviss attack, and you,” she added wryly, “are a galaxy-class master in the fine art of looking like you’re working when you’re really doing piss all.”
“It’s a skill,” he admitted smugly, looking pleased with himself.

After finishing Valor’s Choice I purchased the second one, The Better Part of Valor to take with me to New Zealand and reread there. I may have also read the third one, but my memory is getting worse and worse in my old age. It looks like there are 6 in the series (3. The Heart of Valor, 4. Valor’s Trial, and 5. The Truth of Valor) with 6. Peacemaker possibly due out this year (that’s Goodreads rumor, so who knows). I’ve no idea if Peacemaker is the last in the series or not. Because of this lack of information, I’m not sure how devoted I am to Torin to be able to resist fearing the unknown. I will buy the rest of the series, but I may wait to read them until I know what Huff’s endgame is. I get very nervous when I don’t know if an author is going to stick the landing, delay the finish, or fade away. Fingers crossed.

For a total shift in mode I then read Courting Magic: A Kat, Incorrigible Novella which I LOVED.  I picked Kat, Incorrigible for the book group a little while ago and liked it very much but I think it was just a little too young for me. There was also some discussion on the book group over the shifting tone. However, Kat’s character was nothing but a delight regardless, and this novella is the perfect age update, giving Kat her own romance.

 “No!” he muttered. “Don’t be stupid. I’d never dishonor you.” 
“Well, I thought not.” There was a tiny, inconsequential quiver of disappointment in my belly, but I did my best to ignore it. “So—” 
“But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to,” he muttered.

See? See! How could you not want to read that? The tone is spot on, perhaps a little melodramatic but that’s what I want from someone Kat’s age in an Austen setting as a romantic novella.

There was nothing to be done, so nothing was amiss, and I would simply have to accustom myself to the gaping hole inside me where everything bright and colorful and right had ever been.

I adored the love interest so much, I decided I had to go buy the rest of the Kat, Incorrigible series to read the story of how Kat and Alexander met.

“I remember every moment I spent with you five years ago,” he murmured, so softly I could barely hear him. “How could I forget? I spent the last five years waiting to meet you again.”

Not to mention some feels for a few of the new side characters who had hinted at back story that I now really want to know more about.

“Fortunately for you,” I said brightly, “from the way she’s already been surrounded by suitors, I expect she’ll have a marriage proposal within a week. Then she won’t be your concern at all, will she?”
The Marquess let out a noise that sounded like a muffled roar.

Anyways, I think you could read and enjoy this novella even if you hadn’t read the series, it is a blast of fresh air, pure romantic joy.

While I am away, the group is reading Jasper Fforde whose first novel is a work of comedic genius. Trust me, it is.

{Gail’s read along for April is The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

via   cupofeternitea tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Ladies at Tea  facesofthevictorianera tumblr

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
This Is What A Cup Of Tea Looks Like In 22 Different Countries

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Red Ink In the Trenches: A Copyeditor’s Perspective

PROJECT ROUND UP 

  • Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last. Releases Nov. 3, 2015. Available for pre-order! Awaiting proofs.
  • Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First. OUT NOW!
  • Imprudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the Second. Working rough draft, about 1/2 way.



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Wicked Little Pixie says of Prudence: “Gail Carriger is also great at developing characters. None of her characters in Prudence come across as two-dimensional or as filler characters. Each one has a well-rounded personality, with qualities that make them very genuine.”

Quote of the Day:
“And I was engaged in weaving him what Miss Bethel refers to as The Usual Tissue of Pleasing Lies. You can hear the capital letters when she says it.”
~ Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Book Review ~ Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis was entirely new to me and I quite enjoyed it. I can’t remember how this book came on my radar originally (I really should start keeping track of that kind of thing). It’s mid grade but with the sophisticated edge one might expect from a Regency setting. It was not as light nor as comedic as I felt the cover and blurb suggested. It was quite fun (almost silly) at the begging but became more serious as the book progressed. I’m not certain if this shift in tone was intentional or not.

At the beginning, for example, Kat cuts her hair and this action is used as a way to introduce her family…

“Quite,” Stepmama said. “That is exactly my point. Aren’t you going to ask her how she could do such a thing without even asking your permission?”
Papa said tentatively, “Did you ask my permission, Kat?”

But once magic becomes heavily involved in the story things change rapidly. And charming bits, like the living teacups, are abruptly eliminated. I did find this a little jarring.

And her teacups had shattered. They lay in lifeless, unmoving shards across the carpet before the open cabinet. The same teacups that had tried to brush up against my hands for petting …

That said, I adored Kat’s character throughout. She is tough and spunky while staying entirely true to her age. Or so it felt to me, it’s been a long time since I was 10.

“I told you,” I panted. “Do not insult my mother!” I slammed my fist into her nose just as Charles had taught me in his boxing lessons. It made a horrible crunching noise, and it hurt my hand.

Her internal dialogue felt particularly 10-year-old-youngest girl. I loved her observations on society in particular. She reminded me a little of the youngest sister, Margaret Dashwood, as portrayed in Emma Thompson’s adaptation of Sense & Sensibility.

I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were just like birds, but person-shaped.

I also particularly enjoyed Kat’s relationship with her two older sisters. It was as troubled and as loving as one might expect of three sisters with very distinct personalities. This is complicated by the fact that each has a very different memory of (and perspective on) their dead mother. Not to mention access to her magical gifts. Again, having no siblings of my own, I can’t speak to the truth of the portrayal but it felt authentic.

I scrunched myself into an uncomfortable far corner with my reticule on my lap and tried not to meet my sisters’ eyes as they took their seats across from me.

Angeline took Elissa’s hand and squeezed it, and Elissa rested her head on Angeline’s shoulder. I stared at them both from my corner of the carriage and felt hot prickling behind my eyes. “Oh, Lord,” Angeline said. She sighed and reached across the piled boxes to take my hand, too.

In the end, I found Kat, Incorrigible a quick and pleasing read. I was never jarred or chucked out of the story by a missed edit or a flawed word choice. Kat’s voice remained consistent throughout and I gobbled her shenanigans up in the space of one lazy afternoon. I did feel that the magical system was underdeveloped. But I understand from other reviewers that this is improved upon in the second volume. Just FYI there is also a free Kat short story.

I will certainly nip back into Kat’s world at some point. I was so tempted by the YA novella that gives Kat her own romance, I bought it to add to my to epically huge reading pile. I want to know how she grows up!

I would specifically recommend Kat, Incorrigible to mothers with kids around Kat’s age (or younger if they are advanced readers). I would have loved it at about age 8 or so.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading next? Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Ladies’ Cabinet Date-  Tuesday, August 1, 1837 Item ID-  v. 18, plate 115

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Dandies on Ice, 1818

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
A history of the necktie

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Three (hopefully) Inspiring Thoughts For 2015 (from my agent)

PROJECT ROUND UP 

Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 available for pre-order!


The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:

hopeisaturtle tumblr Soulless Minimalist Posters Ivy

Quote of the Day:
“I wondered how he managed to survive without eating. Was he powered entirely by fashion?”
~ Stephanie Burgis

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

Gail’s Book Group Launches with Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach! (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Well, there was gratifyingly enthusiastic interest in a book group. I am charmed, for I secretly adored the idea, and was afraid you might not be interested. I’m so excited, in fact, that I have already selected the books for each month for the rest of 2014!

via the FB

 

What Will We Read?

Fiction. A range of stuff from space opera to paranormal to steampunk to romance, adult and YA. I’ll be going for both new (within the last few years) and foundation (books with which I formed my own preferences as a reader and wish to reread and share). My taste leans toward female authors, stroppy female main characters, and romantic elements. If those aren’t for you, then you might not enjoy participating in the group. (But, really, why are you reading this blog if you don’t like such things?)

Also, most of the books I choose are likely to hit up on Tropes I Love.

  • Girl disguises herself as a boy in order to infiltrate a patriarchal environment
  • Solo or rare female fighter/shape shifter/magician excels against adversity
  • Displaced heroine outside of her own culture must survive confusion
  • Against all odds, heroine must manipulate politics in order to build/save her world
  • Excelled nobility must keep her integrity in adversity

They are also all likely to be commercial fiction. (As a rule I am not a big fan of literary works.)

So, if all that still sits well with you, Gentle Reader?

via the FB

 

How Will It Work?

10 Commandments

  1. I will announce the book as close to the beginning of each month as I can. It will also appear below at the bottom of the text of every post for that month in {}
  2. I will try to choose books available in all English Language Territories. If you can acquire the book legally, as an author, I kindly ask that you do so. (I will also try to announce next month’s book early so you can pre-order.)
  3. While I adore seeing enthusiasm for a book you love, I am not open to suggestions. (This is for the same reason I don’t cover blurb: burned by the awkwardness of having to hide what I really thought to protect a friend’s feelings.)
  4. I’ll post my review at the end of the month. This may include spoilers, as can the comments, so if you aren’t finished, don’t read the post.
  5. Sometimes, I will read more in the series that month. If so, reviews of following books may be included, but will be spoiler free.
  6. My reviews tend to be positive. Please keep your comments the same, or at least polite. There’s enough negativity out there already for my taste.
  7. You may comment here or tweet/FB me at any time with your thoughts as you read the book, but no spoilers until the review is live.
  8. I’ll mostly be reading digitally, so page numbers mean nothing to me.
  9.  If you have a lot to say, particularly if the book touched on an area of your expertise, I may haunt the discussion thread hit you up for a fun guest blog, or a quote.
  10. If possible, I will reach out to interview the author.

Participation is entirely voluntary!

n Goodreads there is a Gail Carriger Fan Group moderated by the lovely Skye. Since most of my interface with Goodreads is passive, that is a great place for book group discussions to occur without my interference.

Members of the Parasol Protectorate: We Have Book Group

Thus it is the we launch a new era of natter and fun. Let the reading commence!

 

June’s book is:

Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach

July’s book will be:
Blood & Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
(What ever you do, don’t watch the movie.)

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for June? Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel Bach ~ Book One in the Paradox series}

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

2013 Genlux

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Wall Buttons by Arbutus+Denman

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Exploding Chair by Simone Micheli

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

via FB

PROJECT ROUND UP 

Waistcoats & Weaponry ~ The Finishing School Book the Third. November 4, 2014. Cover art to come.
Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First:   Print pass (3rd edit) now, release date March 17, 2015. Not yet available for pre-order.
Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last.   Finished rough draft, cutting and trimming begins in July. Not yet available for pre-order.

 

The Books! 

The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies

 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)

 

The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels
 $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister’s Song, & Fairy Debt

Book News:

thesilentpoetess-tumblr

Quote of the Day:

Water-Cure Journal, March 1855

 

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

© 2017 Gail Carriger | Disclaimer & Privacy Policy | Site built by Todd Jackson