Tagged 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!

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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 ~ Forgotten Beasts of Eld, Gail’s Desert Island Read (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

A little while I go I was immeasurably honored to be asked to write the foreword for the recent re-release of Patricia McKillip’s remarkable Forgotten Beasts of Eld.

This is one of my favorite books of all time. The re-release is now available, and because it is also finally in ebook form (also in audio), I’ve chosen it for our book group read along.

The edition I had as a child.

I thought instead of the usual “I chose this why” post for this book pick, I’d present the forward for you.

I can’t say it better than I already said it.

As it were.

Foreword

Gail Carriger

When I was much younger, my friends and I would challenge ourselves with the hardest question ever asked of any avid reader:

Which book would you want with you if you were stranded on a desert island?

There were a lot of books I loved back then, and a lot of new books have been added to that list-of-adored over the years. But after the first time I read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, it became the answer to this question, always and forever. Thirty years later, it’s still the answer.
So now I am left with a very difficult task. How do I explain my love for this perfect desert-island book?

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is like no fantasy novel you have ever read before, and yet it is a touchstone for all of them. It’s not just that the story is magic — it’s that the prose itself is magical and heart-wrenching. Not only will you become immersed in plot and character but also sentence structure. McKillip forms a stunning union of what is told and what is portrayed, and how a writer can transcribe both. It’s like fractal mathematics: beautiful, impossible for an ordinary human to quite understand, and yet hypnotic. Just the opening paragraph is chilling, and thrilling, and all sort of other trilling llls in a row. I can’t describe this book, because it is better than that. It’s better than my capacity for description. It’s not funny, or cute, or silly — it is a work of pure lyrical genius.

This book is the Arthurian legend for an alternate human timeline. It is a riddle teasing you to understand power—in sorcery, in arms, in passion, in knowledge. It is a philosophical treatise on the petty wars of man and how they spin and weave their own magic over intellect and desire. It is about the price of forgiveness, the cost of revenge, and gentle, tentative, nurturing love in all its varied forms.

McKillip explores what it means to be a woman with power beyond the world of men, and then within it. In doing so, she illuminates how we turn ourselves into weapons — not so much how the act of being a weapon is flawed but how in choosing to become one, we risk losing our true selves.

And she does all this while still entertaining.

If you are about to read The Forgotten Beasts of Eld for the first time, I envy you. If this is a reread for you, as it is for me, I know without a shadow of a doubt you will find something new in its pages. I always do.

The Forgotten Beasts of Eld is not just a book about magic — it is magic.

{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 in all editions.
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 . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How to Make Hard Boiled Eggs That Will Peel, Damn It

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

How to Add Google Analytics to WordPress in 5 Minutes or Less

Book News:

BJ’s Reviews says of Poison or Protect audiobook:

“Suzanne Lavington narrated Poison or Protect. This was my first experience with Ms. Lavington and I generally enjoyed her pleasing voice. She also did a good job with varying her pitch to provide differentiation among the characters, including by producing deep enough sounding voices to convincingly sound male, a trait which can be a difficult feat for some female narrators. Ms. Lavington also did a good job with creating accents as both British and Scottish sounding accents are necessary for this story.”

Quote of the Day:

Bingo uttered a stricken woofle like a bull-dog that has been refused cake.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

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

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Inventor

by Gail Carriger

Giveaway ends September 24, 2017.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway


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!


Gail Carriger Reviews MT Anderson’s Feed (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

 

Because MT Anderson’s Feed is on sale today in the USA for $1.99 I’m hijacking my own blog, Gentle Reader, to review it.

If you were to choose only one YA book to read in your lifetime, it should be this book.

Feed portrays the near future world North Americans are currently barreling towards, and, as a result, this book is horrifying, terrifying, and brilliant all at the same time. You don’t need to read my review, you need to go out and read this book, now. It’s a fast pace and shouldn’t take very long to whip through. I keep it on my shelf because it’s genius, but it’s so chilling I can’t stand to reread it. (But you know what, I’m still going to buy the ebook so I have it with me, just in case I need it.)

It’s not often I agree with the big gun awards out there but Feed richly deserves its status as: National Book Award Finalist, star PW, and star Kirkus, it should have won the Newbery. Probably would have if it wasn’t SF.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

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 buisness 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 . . .

1900s Jules Bastien-Lepage (French artist, 1848–1884) Girl with a Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Dandies of White’s in the Regency Era

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

10 Things You Should Know About Having a Persona

Book News:

The Many Face of Alexia, T-B, L-R: Japan, Spain, Omnibus, USA, Germany, Manga

Quote of the Day:

“Sunday supper, unless done on a large and informal scale, is probably the most depressing meal in existence. There is a chill discomfort in the round of beef, an icy severity about the open jam tart. The blancmange shivers miserably.”

~ P.G. Wodehouse

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


Comfort Reading: 8 Book Loves from Gail (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Every devout reader knows that just as there are comfort foods, there are also comfort reads. And just like comfort foods, we don’t all have the same ones and they are often tied to childhood nostalgia.

I do a number of posts about the books I like to read, Gentle Reader, partly because it’s one of the questions I get a lot. Partly because I’m a voracious reader. And partly because I want to share the love.

Recently, on Twitter, I was asked what I read for comfort. I realized I’d never specifically addressed this kind of book her in the blog. The kind I reach for in times of worry and trouble. The one I wrap around my imagination like a warm fuzzy blanket. I tend to reach for different ones under different kinds of emotional stress, so I will try to tease that out for you.

Without further ado, here are my comfort reads…

Unadulterated Escape from Reality

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts

The worldbuilding (and the vast and complex cast of characters) in these books is utterly transporting. For me this is the ultimate epic fantasy. You can keep your Game of Thrones, I will reach for this trilogy once a year, sometimes more, probably for the rest of my life. (Ladies & gentlemen it’s finally coming out in digital form this month! I am over the moon. Along with the other two in the series. )

I Just Want to be Loved

Warprize by Elizabeth Vaughan

I don’t know why this book. But it is this one. There is something about the way Vaughan writes culture conflict that rivets me. I love a good romantic misunderstanding (a GOOD one, mind you). I can read this particular story over and over again.

Nostalgia for Days

Pierce

Pretty much any of Tamora Pierce‘s Tortall stuff will do although I have a particular soft spot for Alanna, Kel, and Bekka. I put McCaffery, Lackey, and McKinley into this same basket. But, in all honesty, it’s usually Pierce I reach for if I want to dwell for a while in my own past.

I Just Want a Hug

Claimings, Tails, and Other Alien Artifacts by Lyn Gala

At it’s heart this Sci Fi (light BDSM) m/m romance is a story about discovering exactly where you belong in the universe. Wrap that up in a big purple softie and his fantastically well done alien culture and I find myself rereading this book a lot. Especially if I feel displaced and out of whack.

I Just Want a Good Cry

The Lion and the Crow by Eli Easton

This is your knights of the round table find each other instead of the chalice. Whatever, I’m losing my metaphors here. But it’s great. It’s romance so I give nothing away by saying the knights end up together, but the book then follows the men through the rest of their lives. Which means you get to see how they die. Which makes me cry.

Similarly The Song of Achilles fills this niche. But it makes me cry too much, so I don’t reach for it as often. If you’re looking to cry over het romance, try The Deep End of the Sea for modern meets ancient Greek fantasy, or the Theirs Not To Reason Why series for space opera.

Here is my: 10 Books to Read When You Need a Good Cry

I Want To Be Reminded There’s Good in the World

For Real by Alexis Hall

Strange that I should reach for a BDSM book when I’m looking for proof of goodness, right? But that’s what I do. There is not only good in the story but good in the writing of this book. Some of Hall’s sentences are almost painful. I will read anything written by this author for that reason alone, but For Real is by far my favorite.

I Don’t Want to be Myself

Mary Calmes Acrobat or Frog

Calmes is a prolific writer and I’ve read most of her stuff, but for me, these are her best. I find her better at full length stand alone than series or shorter works. Since she writes in first person (not generally something I gravitate towards) her style really takes me out of my own head.

Gimme a Happy Ending

Restitution by Aubrey Cullens

This is a straight up redemption m/m romance. (You should know by now that most of the romance I read is m/m. We can delve hard core into my psyche sometime over drinks, if you like. But there it is. I just find the gay boys more romantic because of how I was raised. Anyway, where was I?) This is one of those good man is horribly wronged by the system and then forges and new identity through love sort of stories and I adore it. Adore it. I’d have a hard time explaining why, since there are so many other books like it. But it’s this one.

More recommended reads from Miss Carriger?

So what’s your comfort read?

Meanwhile, I’m giving away 3 copies of the anglicized version of Manners & Mutiny over on Goodreads.

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

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 0r 2019.

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?

Tiny Navajo Reads says:

“I love that Gail Carriger is moving out of the Victorian Steampunk universe in such an amazing way, magic is explained scientifically, but it’s still magic. The two main characters are wonderfully done, I believe them, I sympathize with them, I can see the area where they are, and I love even the secondary characters.”

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Shrinking Orphan Works Problem

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Invite Your Readers to Help Get Your Books into Libraries

Book News:

V’s Reads says of The Sumage Solution

“I don’t want to reveal too much of the plot, because it’s fantastic and so very different, but I want to mention that it’s got the same fast-paced, witty movement as all the other books I’ve read by the author. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough.”

Quote of the Day:

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


Did You Enjoy The Sumage Solution? Here’s What To Read Next, Miss Carriger Recommends

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello hello. I’m hoping by now you’ve had a chance to read my latest book, The Sumage Solution. If you have, as always, I’d adore a review. It’s really more helpful that you realize. I’m hoping to write the next San Andreas Shifter book soon (Competence CE permitting). Thank you to everyone who’s asked about it.

In the interim, I’m put together this list of authors I absolutely love who write m/m fantasy, urban fantasy, and paranormal romance. Ones that I think you might like if you enjoyed The Sumage Solution.

Ready?

Loved The Sumage Solution? Try…

R. Cooper’s Being(s) in Love series.

Please please please just ignore the horrible cover art. (Someone has got to do better over at Dreamspinner Press. They should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves.) Anyway, these books are so sweet and poignant, with prevailing themes of loneliness and cultural (usually human-to-fae) misunderstandings. Gentle HEAs, understated but lovely sex scenes. You do not have to read this series in order at all, just pick and choose whichever blurb interests you. You’ll probably end up reading them all anyway. That’s what happened to me. I started with (and loved) Treasure for Treasure, and I am so NOT a dragon shifter person. If it’s the mage/werewolf dynamic you’re after, than try A Beginner’s Guide to Wooing Your Mate.

Charlie Cochet’s Thirds series.

On a completely different vein, the Thirds series features genetically altered shifter humans (mostly cats) and their various romances and partners in an elite military task force in a quasi post-plague world. If you like Max, you’ll love Dex, who brings ridiculous snark to a whole new level. You should read these in order, so start with Hell & High Water. These books can get pretty rough and violent, and also very erotic, so trigger warnings all ’round.

The Lodestar of Ys by Amy Rae Durreson.

If your preference runs into the epic fantasy range rather than shifters, than this book is for you. It is particularly stunning and beautiful with its worldbuilding. The sex scenes are well done but can get explicit. The beginning is absorbing, featuring a country under siege from a Roman Empire-like menace. But it is the second half, when the main characters fly to the airborne islands of Ys that Durreson’s imagination soars. I hope some day we get another book of Ys, if only to read more about this beautiful world. You can read my Goodreads review as well, if you like.

[IMAGE REDACTED TO SAVE YOUR EYEBALLS]

The Sacrifice and Other Stories by Kim Fielding.

(Another one with a craptastic cover, sigh. Why must this be? It’s so bad I refuse to even show it in this blog.) This is a collection of Fielding’s fantasy m/m shorts, which I like and think are her strongest works. Fielding writes classic stunning visionary fantasy extremely well. I could see her on the honor roll of the greats of the field, except she also includes gay sex. (And for this she must be ignored and punished, because the world is dumb.) Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, these can also get pretty rough. Her characters are almost always resilient but broken. That’s why I advise starting with this collection, get an idea of her writing style and themes and see if you want more. She’s got a good range. Also, some of her solo ebook offerings are already included here, so if you start with this collection, you won’t double up.

Jex Lane’s Beautiful Monsters series, starting with Captive.

Like your vampire with a dose of incubus? This one is for you. That said, I hesitated to recommend this series because it’s not yet finished. It really is a series and I don’t know if Lane can stick the landing. So far as I can tell, Lane is a new author. I don’t mind shouting out something like Rhys Ford’s Kai Gracen stuff, because Rhys has a track record of great HEAs. But Lane, I’m not sure what we are in for in the end. That said, I sure did find the Beautiful Monsters books riveting. Everything is pretty darn graphic though, from the violence to the sex, so all kinds of trigger warnings on these puppies. Like Kai, the main characters (and most of the side characters) are pansexual so… yeah… ALL THE THINGS in all the places.

Love The Sumage Solution & The Parasolverse?

Well Romancing the Werewolf is coming November 5th, 2017. (Please to remember the 5th of November…) That’s going to be my first major m/m love story set in the Parasolverse.

But I do have a few to suggest while you wait.

I really admire KJ Charles. Both the Society of Gentlemen series and her other regency romance stuff. All m/m, filled with manners and clothing, hiding and danger, and the risk inherent in all four. Some of the sex scenes are quite erotic, but not as many triggers, if my memory serves. A Gentleman’s Position is my favorite for the class conflict and pinning (I love a good pine) but A Seditious Affair is killer if BDSM is your jam… so to speak. I don’t think you have to read these in order, although it might be slightly more enjoyable if you do. Each one stands alone from the romance perspective.

Rowan Speedwell writes historically set m/m like Kindred Hearts but also fantasy like Bitterwood (read my review on Goodreads). I’d recommend most of her stuff, pick and choose to your taste.

Jordan L. Hawk’s Hexworld series, starting with Hexbreaker (or the short The 13th Hex). These are wonderful stories in a well conceived and unique magical system involving magicians and their shifter familiars, a victorian setting, fabulous characters with a range of personalities. Lots of cross character pollination, but (so far) no strong carry-over storyline. No cliff hangers.

Want to sample many of these recommendations in short story first?

The Charmed and Dangerous anthology, is actually where I first found a large number of these authors. Not every single story was to my taste, but it’s a well edited anthology of ten stories, and some of them are truly wonderful.

Have fun, and happy reading!

{Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for July is The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley.}

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 0r 2019.

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 . . .

1900 vi antique-royals tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Me and some of my friends & Alpha readers at the SAS launch party

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

How Do Airlines Come Up With These Ridiculous Fares?

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

4 Reasons to Love Coffee Shops

Book News:

The Key Book Publishing Paths: 2017

Quote of the Day:

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!


What Does Gail Carriger Read? In which I prove that as a reader I’m an unreliable narrator (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Over on Goodreads, Gentle Reader, Theron asked me the following question, and I had such a long answer I decided I should turn it into a blog post.

He asked:

Other than your own works, what are some of your favorite steampunk novels?

Here is my answer, plus bonus burbling.

Well, they are both gaslight fantasy rather than steampunk but I love Sorcery & Cecelia and Brother’s Ruin.

I actually don’t read as much within steampunk as I could, because I’m frightened of having my voice colored by someone else’s prose, or of being accused of becoming derivative.

Want more stuff like mine, here’s my post on While You Are Waiting ~ Books To Read While Gail Types.

What other genres do you prefer reading?

I’m a voracious reader and tend to read a wide range of commercial genres (mostly sci-fi, fantasy, & romance). I have a propensity to binge for months on one sub-genre and then move on to something else. I am also one of those readers who finds an author she likes and then will read anything by that author, even if it’s not something I’d normally go for.

I have a book group via my fan group on Goodreads where I pick one book a month and we all read and talk about it together. Also I tend to recommend books that I’ve loved when they go on sale via my newsletter, The Chirrup.

Some of my broad quirks…

I prefer light-hearted and comedic over dark. Partly because humor is harder to write, and I think resorting to angst is all too often the author being lazy or immature. Of course, I stumble upon exceptions, but usually my weird set of codified no-goes (see below) leaves me with a healthy stack of to reads and not enough time to read them. So I’m inclined to narrow my taste, not broaden it.

I’m a non-completest. Which is to say, if the book doesn’t grab me within the first couple of chapters then I’ll drop it without further thought. This is one of the reasons I rarely judge contests. I don’t feel capable of committing to reading something from start to finish. If I don’t like it, I stop. Life’s too short to read a book that doesn’t entertain me.

Specifically?

Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of m/m urban fantasy (UF), paranormal romance (PNR), or fantasy (not just gay but LBTQ too, although that’s harder to find). I love gay romantic sci-fi, but it’s practically non-existent. (I may have to write my own some day.) I love a good culture conflict misunderstanding.

I also adore space opera, alt-history non-european based fantasy, military sci-fi, even some atmospheric fantasy. But only if it has a female, gay, or non-binary main character. I prefer character-driven over concept-driven, shorter over longer, and I’m not wild about multiple POVs or first person present tense. Which rules out a lot of hard sci-fi, epic fantasy, and post-apocalyptic.

I read a lot of YA. I like the pacing, although I’m not really into YA urban fantasy/PNR or dystopian. I’ll read darn near anything if it’s a woman disguising herself as a man to subvert the patriarchy, but if it’s too much hero’s journey or too predictable (often the same thing) I scream and throw the book across the room. I demand a happy ending, or at least that the author sticks the landing.

Now, let me stress that this is my taste. It’s like my mad love of marmite, or my disgust with brussels sprouts. It doesn’t reflect on your own taste as a reader, and shouldn’t affect what you write as an author.

Please note that many of the most commercially successful books of the past decade would go straight into Gail’s DO NOT READ bin.

I guess that in reading I’m an utterly unreliable narrator. I’m full of illogical will and unsubstantiated opinion.

{Gail’s monthly read along for April 2017 is Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman.}

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 Beautiful Late Victorian_Edwardian dress, hat and umbrella (Source- bnspyrd.deviantart.com)

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Historical Recipes

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

What Fiction Trends Say About Us

Book News:

Between Dreams and Reality says of Prudence:

“We are easily taken by the story and I let myself be carried by the chapters. It was a nice discovery full of originality and how not to be happy to see the heroes I loved! Yes, I had a great time and I’m curious about the result and to find Rue and her friends again!”

Quote of the Day:

“The tea, once it arrived, had its customary effect—engendering comfort and loosening the tongue… no wonder tea was considered a vital weapon of espionage.”

~ Waistcoats & Weaponry

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!


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