Tagged miss carriger recommends

Gail’s Favorite Holiday Reads ~ Books for Kids & Adults (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m not a particularly jolly person, Gentle Reader, but I do have a weird love of holiday romances and stories. So if you are like me, I thought I might recommend a few that I recently found, or not so recently as the case may be…

I’ve chosen for a range of ages and taste, because, frankly I’m an eclectic kinda girl.

Winter Story (Age 3 & Up)

Don’t know the Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem books? OMG they are delightful! (Yes, my dear UK readers, these charming books were never a thing in the USA. We are sad.)

These lovely beautifully illustrated little stories are very, very British. Start your young ones on the path that will inevitably lead to Great British Bake OffYou want the hardcover print editions of these books, trust me. Frankly, I prefer Barklem to Beatrix Potter.

Winter Story is wonderful – the ice ball alone! So cute, such adorable little field mice running about and being so proper and cozy.

The household schematics will knock your socks off, and any kid lucky enough to receive this book as a gift. Warning, they will want all of them. They are all wonderful. And if you can’t get just Winter Story I can highly recommend the Year in Brambly Hedge box set, I grew up with this.

The Dark Is Rising (Age 10 & Up)

This is the second book in the Dark is Rising series, but it was the first one written. Like Narnia, I’m not convinced you must read these in world chronological order, but you can if you wish.

This one is both my favorite and the most winter-centered. I ADORE this book, it’s magical and wonderful and serious and thrilling. Merely thinking about the central poem gives me chills.

Come on say it with me, you know you want to.

When the Dark, comes rising, six shall turn it back;
Three from the circle, three from the track,
Wood, bronze, iron; water, fire, stone;
Five will return, and one go alone.

Argh, it’s SOOOO good. I highly recommend the audio, as that way you know how all the welsh words are pronounced. Before there was JK Rowling we old fools had Susan Cooper. I wasn’t wowed by the movie, don’t bother.

Gay Holiday Romances

Yes, I Found a Jewish One!

For all those who lament the lack of non-Christmas romance this time of year, Eight Nights in December is rather sweet.

Orphaned Lucas figures spending the holidays with his obnoxious roommate’s family in New York City is better than staying alone on campus upstate. He ends up sharing a room again, this time with his roommate’s brother, Nate.

It’s very new-adult, exploring sex for the first time and that kind of thing. The setting is New York, the family is Jewish, the sex is explicit. It’s a bit of a love letter to New York.

And, of course, a Christmas one…

If you want your gay boys with Christmas and a hot friend-of-the-older-brother trope than try Yours For The Holiday by DJ Jamison instead.

Christmas Romance for the Hets

Daniel and the Angel Novella

One of my favorites is a true classic, Daniel and the Angel, I read this story in a paperback collection a million years ago, well before I ever even contemplated writing romance myself. Fortunately, for all of us, it exists as an ebook now!

When wealthy financier D. L. Stewart’s finds an injured woman in the snow in front of his New York City mansion, he has no idea she is the fair Lillian, a big-hearted and somewhat inept fallen angel, sent back to teach him what Christmas is really about.

A delightful tear-jerker that’s almost painfully sweet, I nevertheless still love this one.

BONUS: A Princess for Christmas Movie

I am weak in the face of sappy Christmas movies recommended to me by romances authors on Twitter. (This one then conformed by Drunk Austen. Trust me, just do everything Drunk Austen does. You can thank me later.) So this year I watched A Princess for Christmas (featuring Sam Heughan).

It is plagued with all the flaws of the genre: cliches, bad dialogue, and the child actors are cringe-worthy. BUT I still enjoyed it and there may even have been a little tear. So, spike that nog, or tot that totty with an extra jigger of brandy, sit back, and wallow.

There it is, I hope I have managed to make your holidays a little more fun and romantic or at the very least given you a gift idea or two.

Hugs and happiest of happies!

Yours in cosy tea-riddle and slightly grumpy comfort,

Miss Gail

Do you want more curated on sale book picks? New stuff goes to Chirrup members first, because I love them bestest. Sign up here.

Coop de Book: Gail’s monthly read along for December is The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune.


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I Can Read for Miles says of Romancing the Werewolf:

“Guys, it is worth the wait. This novella is delightful. It gave me so many vibes that I got from Soulless.”



Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1905-06, France. via shewhoworshpscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Umbrellas: The More You Know

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Lilliput Supervises the rough draft of the next San Andreas Shifter book

Book News:

I Smell Sheep says of The Sumage Solution:

“Carriger does a great job of writing horny supernatural males. This is kind of a subjective generalization, but if you’ve read lots of paranormal romance then you know what I’m talking about. Yeah, it’s a genre stereotype, but that is why it tastes soooo good.”

Quote of the Day:

“The secret of life is to appreciate the pleasure of being terribly, terribly deceived.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

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 Sumage 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…


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.


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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.”



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

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.


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.}


  • 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.


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?


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.}


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?


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.}


  • 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?


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?


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


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.


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.}


  • 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.


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


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.


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.}


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


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!

5 Books That Will Shock Your Pants: Miss Carriger Recommends Reading About Women Who Dress As Men

Posted by Gail Carriger

Hello gentle reader, this is a reboot of an article that I wrote for Tor.com.

I’ve chatted many times over the years about the fact that one of my favorite tropes of all time is when a girl disguises herself as a boy for the purposes of infiltration.

It’s hard to articulate why I love this concept so very much, but I do. It’s possible Shakespeare is to blame, Twelfth Night has always been my favorite of his plays.

For me, a woman fooling the patriarchy has a feeling of justified espionage. I have always loved the idea of spying but been a little turned off by its associated questionable morality. Yet these girls are disguised out of necessity, because they cannot achieve their goals any other way. A girl-disguised-as-a-boy is the ultimate outsider, trying desperately to join a group that by her very nature is ultimately impossible. She can give me voyeuristic insight into the guarded interactions of the male of the species ­– those mysterious creatures.

From a storytelling perspective, our female protagonist’s initial desperate act of subterfuge gives rise to the constant tension of possible discovery. How will friends, colleagues, and superiors react to being duped when she is found out? For the reader knows that she will, eventually, be found out. That constant stress on the character translates, at its best, to an intrinsically thrilling read.

Here I review five great books where a girl dresses as a boy or, if you prefer, a woman dresses as a man. And then I’ve added a list with more at the end.

Alanna: the First Adventure by Tamora Pierce


The first in the Lioness quartet; a classic epic fantasy series for young adults. Alanna wants nothing more in life than to be a knight, so she disguises herself as a boy and travels to her nation’s capital to become a palace page. Alanna is witty, stubborn, brave, and talented, but also flawed in such a way that it is all too easy to see why she conceived of this madcap plan and why she might fail.

Sword Masters by Selina Rosen


The story of a woman with a very particular set of skills, and some seriously dangerous secrets, who infiltrates not only a school for swordsmen but a foreign culture, in an effort to build alliances and defeat a common enemy. Disguised as a man she is forced, eventually, to marry a woman, and must face the consequences of her own lies on a personal, as well as a professional, level.

The Price of the Stars by Debra Doyle & James D. MacDonald


The first book in a sprawling space opera trilogy. Beka fakes her own death and becomes Tarnekep, a thoroughly unpleasant space pirate, in order to unravel the twisting political coils that are tightening the noose of responsibility around her reluctant neck. Beka loves being her male alter ego, and there is a definite aspect of transgender to Beka’s personality, which is neither empathized nor criticized. When Beka is Tarnekep she is described in 3rd POV as a he, a narrative trick that forces the reader see him for what Beka also is, male. Tarnekep allows Beka access to freedom, places, people, and information she could never have as her other self. He also finds it much easier to kill. Thus we are never certain if Beka loves being Tarnekep for what he can give her, for what he is innately, or if she/he simply exists comfortably as two distinct personalities.

To Play the Lady by Naomi Lane


The first book in an as yet unfinished series. It features many of the things I love about a girl playing a boy, although in this story our low class tomboy from another culture must play at being both a noble lady and a stable lad. Politics force Jenna to assume this double act, hiding her magical abilities and her manly skills. If discovered, Jenna will bring shame and destruction down upon her family, her nationality, and her entire social caste. For Jenna, the stakes are very very high indeed.

Newt’s Emerald by Garth Nix


A charming take on gaslight fantasy, Nix uses the girl-disguised-as-boy trope in its more light-hearted guise. In regency times, Newt must track down a missing emerald. As it is much easier to get around alone as a mustache-wearing man, Newt dons the mustache with gusto. Hijinks and a very confused romance result.

Want more?*

And one where a boy disguises himself as a girl:

The Great and Terrible Quest by Margaret Lovett (no ebook available)

Conall Feels Pretty Fan Art

* This is an ever expanding list that I refer to constantly so if you have more to suggest, please do leave a comment. Main characters only please.

You can probably blame Madame Lefoux on my adoration for this trope…

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


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Quote of the Day:

“She slid into the vampire’s main hallway. The gas was turned down, making sinister shadows out of dancing cherub statuary. Preshea became one with their devilish waltz.”

~ Poison or Protect

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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.


(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.}


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Coop de Book Review: Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

Let’s be clear about one thing, Gentle Reader: if you like Black Dog Blues, it’s because you like the main character, Kai. Me, I love Kai. Kai is my favorite type of character – the tough, scrappy, outcast, snark-monger extraordinaire. He is swimming in snark, splashing about happily and not caring if he drowns everyone else with his vicious wit.

What do you give a man like that for love, balance, and story conflict? What could match all that snark? Aristocratic arrogance, of course. Which is why I also love Ryder. Oh he’s a prat, but an adorably clueless one. And he really likes Kai. Which, let’s be clear, I sympathize with. So I can’t really get too mad at him. Although Kai sure does, pretty much right off the bat.

“I wanted to crawl into his mouth, down his body, and possibly under his skin. If I hadn’t already decided I hated him on sight, it would have made me start.”

Black Dog Blues is much more fighting and more violent than I usually read. But I kind of guessed that going in, from the cover and blurb, so I was too perturbed. It has other elements that I enjoy. For example I like it when immortals act like immortals, which is to say slightly confused by and utterly un-connected to the pettiness and emotional resonance of mortality. I appreciate a Pinocchio character (Data was always my favorite on ST:TNG).

“My reflection in the bathroom mirror surprised me, as it always did. I forgot I wasn’t human.”

I loved the world building of this series. It’s based on a clear and simple concept, as much of the best world building is. That the fae realm and ours collided, destroying much of each and leaving behind the weird-post apocalyptic California with vast empty areas filled with vicious wild dragons, and lost cities, and new elf ones merged on top of or inside our own. This leaves behind humans who are only just surviving, and elves who are slowly fading away. Of course, this world is a metaphor for Kai himself ~ a merged creation, annihilated and mutilated in the act of birth, but possibly greater than the sum of his parts.

The second book in this series is Mad Lizard Mambo which I have also read and enjoyed. Rhys is working on the third*, Dim Sum Asylum (best title EVER). I’m sure I will crow about it once it lands, because, I’m gonna read it.

*Update: See comments, this isn’t the third in this series.

I’m switching things up for next month’s read, we are going YA fantasy adventure and court intrigue with Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith.



Romancing the Inventor

Romancing the Inventor: A Supernatural Society Novella

A steampunk lesbian romance featuring a maid bent on seducing a brilliant cross-dressing scientist who’s too brokenhearted to notice. Or is she?


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“I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense… But it’s unquestionably good escapist literature, and I think I should rather like it if I were sitting in an air-raid shelter or recovering from flu.”

~ Georgette Heyer

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Soulless made this list of 4 Fantasy Must-Reads for Austen Fans:

“My favourite thing about Gail Carriger is her sense of humor. If you love Austen’s dry wit, you will definitely enjoy the Parasol Protectorate series, starting with Soulless.”

(Funnily enough my AP English Essay was on Austen’s use of humor for social commentary.)

Quote of the Day:

“We are the zanies of sorrow. We are clowns whose hearts are broken.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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

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