5 Books Gail Carriger Read While Traveling (Miss Carriger Recommends)

One of the only times I really have an opportunities to read is when I travel, Gentle Reader. So on my recent trip to England (with two long flights, several long train rides, and an illness) I finally got to suck down a few books.

Thorn by Intisar Khanani ~ a retelling of the Goose Girl fairy tale as a YA fantasy. At first I thought it would be very like To Play the Lady, but it turned out to be much darker and less romantic. It’s beautifully written and easy to gobble up with a clean plot and some stunning imagery. At times, I found myself a little annoyed with the main character, she’s quite passive, but this may be a consequence of the base material (after all, that’s what most fairy tale heroines are = passive). In the end, I wished the romance thread was a little stronger, but it was hugely absorbing and fun to read.

Freedom by Sharon Green ~ an adult romantic fantasy that felt a lot like To Play the Lady meets The Selection series. Princesses are sent to court to marry specific princes but they all have other ideas. I found Adair, the main character, annoying. I think I might be exhausted by Sharon Green’s banter, although I still love her nookie. Her main characters tend to willfully misunderstand and miss-communicate, and frankly whiny. (I’d accept it more from a YA character but still find it bratty.) Her heroes are overbearing Alphas in a bad way. Don’t get me wrong, I number several of Green’s books among my favorites, this one just missed the mark for me. Perhaps I am getting too old for her style of writing?

Shadowborn by Sharon Green ~ Green hits me with another unfinished cliff hanger of a series. Why do I keep subjecting myself to this torture. Grrrr. Always read the reviews!

Shadows of Agar by Chris Anne Wolfe ~ funnily enough this fantasy sci-fi felt like a version of an early (read good, but dated) Sharon Green novel, only LBGT centered. It came on my radar recently (via SF Signal, Catherine Lundoff on LGBT Science Fiction and Fantasy in the 1990s) as an excellent example of 19803-1990s lesbian sci-fi fantasy (of the Darkover style so popular during this time period). I’m glad it did, because I enjoyed it. The romance is colored by willful miscommunication (somewhat culturally based, making it a bit more forgivable than Sharon Green’s examples of this type). I ended up wanting to shake the characters and tell them just to sit down and have an actual conversation with each other, for goodness sake. However I forgave this book because the plot was interesting, the world building very fun, and I like the mix of various genres. It reminded me a little of Anne Maxwell and also of Moore’s Hero series. This is the first of two books in an unfinished four book series (Wolfe died in 1997). Because I’m afraid of cliff hangers and I felt that this book ended well, I will not be reading the second (and last) book.

The Prize by Julie Garwood ~ this adult historical romance was a reread for me. I got hugely into Garwood in the late 90s and I remember really liking this book. I still enjoyed it this time around but some of the tropes and trappings of this kind of classic dominant male meets frail yet plucky female trouble me more now then they did in my 20s. I’ve been reading a bit more romance these days because I’m thinking of writing something more romance driven at the beginning of next year ~ a passion project, if you will allow the pun. I’m searching for the things I love and loathe about the genre, so I know what points I want to hit and which pitfalls I should avoid. Don’t worry, this is me, it’ll still be silly, female empowered, and genre mashing just with more nookie than normal. I’m terrified of writing nookie, which clearly means I should do more of it.

I also fit in a few other romances on this trip, but none of them are worth mentioning. Next up is the reread of Children of the Night for the book group and, if I have time, there’s Clockwork Lies and Jean Johnson’s latest, Hardship I’m very much looking forward to.

{What is Gail’s Book Group reading for September? Children of the Night by Mercedes Lackey}


Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .



Teapot carrier case, pressy from my BFF.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
“Avoid all discussions of sicknesses, sores, surgical operations, dreadful accidents, shocking cruelties, or horrible punishments. A love of such topics, evinces a coarse and unfeminine mind.”
~ The Ladies’ Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie’s Behaviour Book
by Eliza Leslie (1864)

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
How Nora Roberts became America’s most popular novelist

Book News:
Esther’s Ever After By Brenna on E&E: “The characters and world charmed me, with their quirks and fascinating little details. I liked Sophronia’s spunky, tomboy personality and how she finds a way to apply herself to her learning… in her own unique way. I love that the characters in this story are a little bit different and very normal – perfect for readers to relate to.”

Quote of the Day:
“I told him every man in the eyrie adores you and it wasn’t any of his business how many boyfriends you had, because if he doesn’t respect you for who you are now, he doesn’t deserve to have you.”
~ Cassi, Clockwork Heart

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Posted by Gail Carriger

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  1. cheryl said:

    I saw one of those cushion purses at a shop a while back and didn't know what it was. If only I had known!

    And your feelings about Green remind me a lot of my own about Anne Bishop. I think I outgrew the Alpha male, pushy/overbearing without a sense of humor, thing. That being said, I know I'll still buy her books, no matter how many times I find my eyes rolling.

    Glad you got to do some reading!

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