Tagged review

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


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!


8 Book That Will Comfort Your Soul (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!


9 Books That You Will Love If You Enjoyed The Sumage Solution (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!


Coop de Book Review: Brother’s Price & Waffling on the Heartbreak of Feminist Genre Authors (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

´I’m not quite sure how to put this, Gentle Reader, so I’ll just dive in.

Cupcakes

There are books you read because you want to, silly fluffy books. Perhaps these are not taken very seriously or considered great works. I like to think of these as cupcake books, only without the caloric guilt. This is what I mostly read. It’s what I like to read. I want to be entertained and happy. I forgive them for being not well written and turn giddy with delight when they are.

A book that transports me, and entertains, has beautiful prose, and leaves me happy at the end? I have been known to bounce.

Stew

There are books you read because you should and yet you still manage to enjoy them. These are the nutritious books, perhaps a bit chewy, perhaps a bit hard to work through, perhaps not exactly satisfying a whim or desire but enjoyable enough. They are likely good for you – these stew books. I put Austen, Gaskell, and Dickens into this category. I don’t read them for true pleasure or desire, I rarely reread, but I’ve also never thrown one across the room in disgust, either.

Sprouts

And there are books you read because you must, for research or for school, books that break librarians’ hearts because they turn kids off reading. These may be beautifully written but they are too much work, or too soul destroying, or simply not fun. (I’m looking at you, Grapes of Wrath, Magic Mountain, Heart of Darkness.) These are the Brussels sprouts of books. Or the cherry cough syrup. Or whatever that thing is that you were forced to eat as a kid and never got over.

And yes, I totally understand, some people love Brussels sprouts. I am not one of those people.

I took a course in European Bildungsroman as an undergrad. I remember reading a note that my excellent teacher jotted down at the top of one of my more vitriolic essays.

“I am troubled by your anger at these books.”

They do make me angry. I can understand why people find them worthy. I can even get if you enjoy reading them. But they frustrate me with prose that may be amazing, but I don’t like it, with disjointed plots or lost pacing, and the characters hurt me with their stupid. That, for me, is book failure.

And because reading is my favorite thing in the whole world, it feels like betrayal.

I throw these books across the room. I curse at them because out there are amazing cupcake works of art that no one knows about because they are too much fun, or too fluffy, or not thought of as healthy or worthy by the powers at be.

And perhaps I’ve learned since then that this is all wrapped up with a history of dominance by male authors, and a preponderance of male critics, and ivory tower standards on what is good enough to be literary, and glass ceilings inside pages. And yeah I learned about the Gothics, and the origin of genre, and the reason why SF/F/Romance so badly mistreated.

But I can’t forgive these famous literary works for being bad. Bad at entertaining me. Bad at making me happy.

All this brings me around to the fact that…

 

I had a sinking suspicion that Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price was going to be a sprout. Unexpectedly, it turned into a highly enjoyable stew. One of those lamb ones, full of veg and thick gravy and a nice rosemary roll on the side.

Formative Feminist Genre Authors

You see, I hate to admit this, but Andre Norton and Ursula K. LeGuin were sprouts for me. I tried, I really did. But I’ve never been able to make more than one or two paragraphs into any Norton book. (I just feel like she’d be one of those people at a party. You know those people? So much cleverer than you and think that’s enough to excuse them the basic human decency of actual manners.) Her writing feels like it’s talking down to me. With LeGuin, I managed Left Hand of Darkness, and a few of her shorter pieces, but only just. She’s utterly exhausting, and really no fun at all. I wouldn’t recommend her, that’s for certain.

Perhaps they were victims of their times. But I’m tempted to think they were trying to compete on a not-so-level playing field with the male authors of their day, for a mostly male audience, and to be taken seriously by male critics. Intentionally? Probably not. Presumably, it worked out in the end, I mean sometimes people are actually told to read their books in school! Female genre authors! Lands sake, what is this world coming to?

But, I digress. Where was I?

On the less well known at a cocktail party in New York front, there are authors like Sheri S. Tepper. Gate To Women’s Country broke my heart and changed my whole life, but I don’t reach for it in times of comfort. I rarely reread it. I recommend it. I think it’s important. It’s very healthy stew. But chewy, a lot of work to read. Good work and necessary. It leaves your brain sore and satisfied, but still work.

And usually, right about then, at the bar at a convention, a woman I respect will bring up Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price.

Which is why I chose to read it.

Oh, Did You Come Here for a Book Review?

I really enjoyed this book. Yes, still a stew and not a cupcake, but I liked it. Spencer had a much more breezy voice than I expected. It was easier jump into and read than I thought it would be. Yes she suffers a little from info-dump-itice, but I’m a skim reader so it doesn’t bother me as much as it might others.

The story was fun. I liked the action scenes. The world-building was spot on. Perhaps the setting wasn’t hugely original (kind of alternate Old West) but I was absolutely riveted by the shifted social structure.

Would this have been a good book if the genders were reversed? No. It would have been one step removed from an early regency romance, only with less romance. But that’s not the point.

After waffling on about how much I dislike books that are nothing but allegory and a pointed prose, I don’t quite understand why I forgave Brother’s Price so much. But I enjoyed reading it. I was fascinated by how Spencer approached concepts. I loved her cheeky jabs on our own social structures and morays.

Did I think the love interests were well developed? Not at all. But this could be a factor of the main character’s youth. Or perhaps the casual way he falls in love is itself a comment on having to marry so many. Is Spencer  shifting the very concept of romance given a sister-wife situation?

One of my favorite lines was this:

“The very nature of intercourse—an act to produce a pregnancy—and the risks to the woman’s health as such, I think will always make the choice of yes or no the woman’s.”

Spoken by an older woman to a younger man in a condescending, yet loving manner. It’s so perfectly pin pointed to eviscerate social darwinism, and eugenics, and claims of biological determinism that have been used throughout history to argue that biological differences mandate the social superiority of males.

These parts of the book made me happy. Not in a cupcake way. But in a “heh-heh, I see what you’re doing there, we are in on a mutual joke at the expense of the dominant paradigm” kind of way.

I think some would argue that Spencer is a little heavy handed with this kind of commentary. That she hits you over the head with it. But as the world is showing us (daily) how oblivious people continue to be, I forgive her this. We clearly need to be hit over the head.

Conclusions?

Was this a good book? Yes it was.

Did I enjoy reading it? Yes I did.

Will I reach for it in times of need for comfort? Probably not.

Should you read it? Yes.

More importantly, this is the kind of book that should be taught in schools. Because it manages to make its point with ease and still be fun to read. Because it would spark very interesting discussions. Because it is not work but it is still rewarding. Because it is holding up a mirror and showing us all our own ugliness, but isn’t cruel about it, just makes the point that we might want to keep struggling to improve. That we might want to consider our own nature as people in a collected group, our definitions of what it means to be wife or husband, sister or brother in our own society, and how that balances against our understanding of human decency.

Okay, I’ve waffled enough.

More on Wen Spencer’s A Brother’s Price.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1882 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

War, Revolution… and Dances

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Why the Most Productive People Do These Six Things Every Day

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

19 of the best podcasts for authors and writers

Book News:

Fan Art Characters by _cosmashivah

Quote of the Day:

“You are the stewards of sacred spaces. Rise to the occasion.”

~ Roxane Gay

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


Coop de Book Group Poll Results for 2016

Posted by Gail Carriger

So, Gentle Reader, last month I ran a poll for the book group to find out which were your favorites of 2016’s picks. Here are the results. I allowed you to pick up to 5 books. Since I can’t actually check to see if you honestly read all of them (and I didn’t require it) I’m not sure how fair the poll is, but here you go:

The question always is, with books (apart from basic statical issues) whether it was content or voice or something else you responded too as readers.

I’m not too surprised to find Sorcery & Cecilia won. It’s one of the books out there that I consider closest, in style, to my own work. Or I’d like to hope that it is. So I’m not surprised those who like my books like it. And I’m please because I feel I can continue to tell those who ask me, exactly that.

Tamora Pierce is a major voice in YA for a reason, so again, no shocker that you’d like her because few don’t. Although…

Hex Hall (which I didn’t like all that much) was higher up than I expected and the two romances (Warprize & Finders Keepers) were lower down. This makes me suspect that participants in the book group are more into YA than romance as a general rule. This might be the nature of a book group, or just a fall out of draw on Goodreads, or something else connected to my Finishing School series. Or perhaps the romances I chose (one very much Fantasy and the other very much ScFi) are not to your taste. Perhaps New Adult would work better?

So, I guess I’m saying I’m not sure what to do going forward, except pick and choose as whimsy takes me. I’m going well out of your comfort zone for the Feb pick, and diving back in (I think) for March but we shall see at the end of next year how you feel about my picks! My first book of the year A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer (review coming soon), was in part due to the fact that it keeps coming up in conversation on panels at cons. Like Gate to Women’s Country it is considered a lesser known but formative feminist work in the field. This month’s choice, Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford, is a recent urban fantasy indie read that I didn’t expect to enjoy but loved. (I can’t wait to see what you think.)

Anyway, thanks for coming along this journey with me and I hope you continue to read along.

{Gail’s monthly read along for Feb is Black Dog Blues by Rhys Ford.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1880s Joseph Caraud (French artist, 1821-1905) The Red Parasol

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Bookscapes

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Roundtable on diversity in SciFi that features diverse voices, includes recommendations.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living

Book News:

Fan Art Alexia by Rebecca Nandi

Quote of the Day:

“The world is divided into two classes, those who believe the incredible, and those who do the improbable.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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


Coop de Book Review: Slightly Squiffy Ramblings & Hex Hall Book Review

Posted by Gail Carriger

So I was pretty sick for the latter half of December, Gentle Reader. One of those dumb head colds that doesn’t do much but sap all your strength and leave you weak and floppy on the couch leaking mucus and complaining about death. Yeah yeah. I know, gross.

I was too dizzy to concentrate on anything. What I managed to write, is likely not very useful, but I did keep my word count up. I don’t have a choice. If I don’t finish RTW this month I’m doomed. DOOMED!

I read a bit, but tended to get frustrated easily. I even resorted to TV, which irritates me even when I’m not sick. Eventually, I tackled Hex Hall, because I wasn’t sure I’d be better by the end of the month.

Accordingly, I’m not entirely sure Hex Hall had a fair shot. Keeping in mind that I have very high standards for YA, and was hyped up on cold meds, crabby, stir crazy, coughing, and dizzy. Instead of your standard review here’s a sort of stream of consciousness tackling of that book…

Beginning

Why did I pick this, again? Good cover. Well, OK. Here we go. Main chick seems nice and snarky. Not very unique but maybe I’ll get surprised.

Chapter 5

This book now reminds me of Harry Potter meets this old Live Journal fic blog I used to read, a decade or more ago now. What was it called? Monsters U, or something. (This was well before the Disney-animates-hair thing.) Anyway, dawn of the internet and all that. But I guess what I’m saying is, I’m not being wowed by originality. However, I like the casual breezy tone of the writing. At least it’s not too much work to read.

Chapter 8

OK, now not sure if I’m supposed to be amused or in suspense. I guess there is humor? But is it enough to detract from a predictable plot? All the characters seemed to be a bit eponymous high-school for me — the mean girls, the bad-boy crush, the teachers. It’s like an 80s-style teen movie but doesn’t push far enough into camp to be super-fab. I mean, I’ll take Sixteen Candles, or 10 Things I Hate About You, or even Mean Girls but if this edges into Teen Witch territory, I’m not sure I can keep reading.

Chapter 14

Oh dear. Now we are in a “main character is the chosen one” situation. Special. Prophecy. Dark father. Come on book, surprise me! Please?

Chapter 28

I have decided who the bad guy is. (The infiltrating eye or what have you.) Am having flash-backs to Chamber of Secrets, and I never even read it.

End

Bah. Probably because I kept associating it with aforementioned LJ Fic I knew what main character really was and so wasn’t ever surprised.

Conclusion

Not letting Twitter help pick the book group book again, unless it’s by an author I know I already enjoy.

Grumpy Gail is grumpy.

So endth this blog post.

 

…. And that rounds out the book group picks for the year. I’ll put the vote up soon for you to tell me which ones were your favorite. Until then, let me know if you have any thoughts on choices for next year. Hugs!

Gail

FIX WORD COUNT

{Gail’s monthly read along for January is A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: Second draft read through.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

1879 fashions carriage walking dresses via historicaltidbits blog

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

A cartoon showing a boy in a crinoline, 1858

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

Victorian Poverty Maps

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Into the Writing Vortex with Jo March and Louisa May Alcott, 1869

Book News:

ace-artemis-fanartist- Portrait of Alexia Maccon.

Quote of the Day:

“The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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


Queer Romantic Comedy Movies That Gail Carriger Loves (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

I’m thinking, Gentle Reader, we all need a bit of love and laughter in our lives right now. I recently had two very long plane rides (to and from Singapore) and couldn’t find a single rom-com to watch. Quite disappointing. I read a bunch of smut instead.

But, I’ll have you know, that I do, occasionally, watch movies. I’m not a big consumer of the silver screen but it has been known to tempt me on occasion.

Queer Rom-Coms

Reading some pull quotes for reviews of Romancing the Inventor (not the whole review, because that might kill me) made me realize something… What I write, at it’s heart, is romantic comedy.

I know. You’re shocked. I’m shocked. Shush, don’t tell anyone. It’ll be our little secret.

Are There Lesbians? says for example:

“I have needed a lesbian romantic comedy for ages and I finally got one so cute and romantic I’m pretty sure it has given me diabetes…. Romancing the Inventor has set the tone for a whole series with its sometimes light and fluffy, sometimes rather serious, and always tongue-in-cheek, storytelling. It has also really raised my expectations for Queer romantic comedy and having been given a taste I would like plenty more please.”

See? Romantic comedy.

Now now, please don’t get tetchy.

There is nothing wrong with romantic comedy unless its done wrong. By that I mean, painfully bad dialogue and/or plot. If you’re wincing right now, perhaps a little thought as to why those two words turn you off so much? Nothing wrong with romance. Nothing wrong with comedy. Trust me. I know. Is it because romantic comedies are generally marketed to/by/for women? Trust me, the dialogue and plot in your dude-targeted space action flick is just as bad, likely worse.

Now where was I? Right. LISTS!

Here are some LBGTQ romantic comedies (some more gentle on the comedy than others) that I really love and feel are under-appreciated.

Shelter

Shelter ~ Adorble surfur dudes, familial responsibility, honor, duty, painful coming out. Bonus points from one of my favorite romance tropes: finding love with the brother of the best friend.

Gray Matters

Gray Matters ~ Perhaps a bit mainstream, and very light hearted, but I kinda adore this movie. Bonus for ballroom dancing, killer undergarments, and L-Word guest appearance.

Later Days

Latter Days ~ One of my favorite all times movies. Repressed morman, dramatic indy songs, unfair mistreatment by the ignorant, reformed bad boy, bonus Tara from Buffy. The scene when he drops the tray. I mean, come ON. So good.

Imagine Me & You

Imagine Me & You ~ Very lipstick lesbian, but super cute. And I like that it genuinely deals with the torture of breaking up as a bad choice. This rom com starts with her marrying… a man. And goes from there. Bonus DDR, cute boys as well as girls, super cheesy ending.

Boy Meets Girl

Boy Meets Girl ~ THIS MOVIE IS EVERYTHING. Bonus fashion! Why are you not watching it? Everyone should be watching it. It so romantic, and glorious, and wonderful, and good, and flipping important. Go. Watch it. Now. Make everyone else watch it. Go. I’ll wait.

Big Eden

Big Eden ~ This feels the most real of the romances in this list. Yes there are characters, but they’re so much more honest than hollywood usually allows in complexity, appearence, vocabulary, everything. Plus bonus cooking = love!

I Can't Think Streight

I Can’t Think Straight ~ I have no idea why no one seems to know about this movie. I adore it. It’s sweet, it’s got culture conflict, dramatic weddings, amazing cake, and it’s hot. Bonus one of them is a writer and the other a fashion designer. Yes! How do you not want this in your life?

Okay…

So I agree that some of the above have problematic moments, either with awkward acting, or tropes gone awry, fashion flaws, or even modern day LBGTQ rights concerns. You’ll have to give some of them credit for the time they were made. And some of them credit for exisiting at all, in such a vacuum of good rom-coms (let alone LBGTQ rom-coms). However, I’m listing them for one reason, and one reason only:

I smiled all the way through, from start to finish.

Except of course for the times I was bitting my hand or sniffling quietly.

Honorable mention to Maurice. Because it’s a gay romance set in period history with A HAPPY ENDING. Beautiful costumes, beautiful men, amazing settings, all the repressed stiff upper-lipping you could want. It’s not strictly comedy, more drama, but I do LOVE this movie. Bonus all the floppy hair your could want and cricket!

Maurice

I could get all film studies cerebral and analytical if I wanted to call in the big guns, (waves at AB), but frankly I’m recommending these movies because I love them. End of story.

Want more on this subject?

I’ve a LBGTQ History board in my Pinterest account.

And a Recommended TV & Movies board.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1875 shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Fashion plate, 1875 shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Lioness at Singapore Zoo

Lioness at Singapore Zoo

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

queen-victorian-and-subseviance-copy

queen-victorian-and-subseviance-info-copy

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

5 (More) Ways to Support Your Favorite Author

Book News:

Reality’s A Bore says of Imprudence:

“I love how original the book is, the world Carriger has created, the history and lore to it, the characters and so on. It’s incredibly immersive and once you started reading you fall into the world, everything is so vivid and the author paints a picture with her words.”

Quote of the Day:

“Deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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


Miss Carriger Recommends Books to Escape Reality

Posted by Gail Carriger

Gentle Reader, here’s a list of the best books for escaping reality. 2016 has been a rough year so I figure right now we all probably need it, for some reason or another.

Want your….

50 Shades of Escape?

For Real Alexis Hall

For Real by Alexis Hall
Get your kink with a side of heart warming and some of the most well written prose in commercial genre fiction.

Mr Darcy in a wet shirt only funny?

Ridiculous by D.L. Carter

Ridiculous by D.L. Carter
Hilarious cross-dressing regency romance. Fall in love with Mr North, I did.

John Snow getting seduced by Aragon?

Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwall

Bitterwood by Rowan Speedwell
Winter IS coming. (Oh yes, I went there.)

Princess picking the dragon over the prince?

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede
And she learns to cook cherries jubilee. Twist that fairy tale, twist and shout!

Star crossed lovers, trade secrets, and clashing cultures?

Local Custom by Lee & Miller

Local Custom by Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
Star sweeping romance of space operatic proportions in one nice stand-alone story.

Political drama where the good girl wins?

Daughter of the Empire by Fiest & Wurts

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurts
First of three books about a brilliant lady playing the political game to win. When she can’t win? She makes up her own rules. This sweeping epic set in an alternate Japanese culture is full of honor, nobility, and fraught love affairs. But yes, the good girl wins it all in the end. (Unfortunately, not available in digital format but it is so worth picking up the mass market.)

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

c.1923 United States Philadelphia Museum of Art

c.1923 United States Philadelphia Museum of Art

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Octopus Pot Corinthian British Museum

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

“A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.”
~ Oscar Wilde

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

“Writing is the flip side of sex – it’s good only when it’s over.”
~ Hunter S. Thompson

Book News:

The Nocturnal Library says of Imprudence:

“Traveling to Egypt on The Spotted Custard would be fun under any circumstances, but with Rue’s companions and some very dear characters from The Parasol Protectorate, it’s a true delight.”

Quote of the Day:

“Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.”
~ Author Unknown

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


Gifts for People Who Love To Read ~ Including Unique DIY Ideas (Miss Carriger Recommends)

Posted by Gail Carriger

The holidays are upon us! I nipped on to FB last weekend for a quick hello and Q&A and happy happy.

Following that, here are some fun ideas for gifts for the reader in your life, Gentle …erm… Reader.

 

Gifts for People Who Love to Read

DIY IDEA

Offer the convention experience. Poke about to see if there are any major or minor conventions in the area that feature the reader’s favorite author. (My 2017 events are here.) Get tickets to attend with the reader, or for the reader and a friend. This can be a spendy gift, but experience gifts are pretty darn fun.

Feather Metal Bookmarks ($2.99).

DIY IDEA:

Purchase eBook-only shorts your reader’s favorite author, especially if said reader doesn’t like eBook, get some fancy paper, print out the short story, roll up like a scroll and wrap with a pretty ribbon. (My shorts are here.)

Knock Knock Personal Library Kit ($10.61).

DIY IDEA:

Email the reader in you life’s favorite author and offer to mail an SASE (self addressed stamped envelope) if they have any book marks, or even business cards with cover art. You can turn these into magnets. If the author doesn’t offer swag, you can print out the cover of a favorite book followed by quotes onto nice paper with a high quality printer and make all manner of things with it, from a specialized bookmark (most print shops will do cheap lamination), to Christmas tree decoration, to framed art, to…

First Lines of Literature Mug ($15).

DIY IDEA:

Pre-order a few up-coming favorite authors for the reader in your life. Print out the pre-order page as a kind of coupon of goodness to come.

DIY IDEA

You can pull together a book themed basket. For example: some of your favorite romance novels with some chocolates and a bottle of wine. Below is a sample steampunk one.

Still hunting for something? Here’s Borderlands list of goodies including signed Manners & Mutiny. In fact, I just signed all their stock of my books, and they have both novellas so you can snap up the new stock now if you give them a ring.

{Gail’s monthly read along for December is Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins.}

PROJECT ROUND UP  

  • Romancing the Werewolf ~ A Supernatural Society Novella
    Status: Rough Draft.
    LBGTQ reunion romance featuring your favorite reluctant werewolf dandy, the return of a certain quietly efficient Beta, and a very unexpected gift.
  • Secret Project SAS ~ Novel
    Status: First draft done. Resting before second draft.
    Contemporary m/m paranormal romance between a snarky mage and a gruff werewolf. Hella raunchy. Super dirty. Very very fun. Spin off of Marine Biology.

OUT NOW

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?

GAIL’S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .

Fashion plate, 1876, France via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .

Sleep in a Bookshelf

Your Tisane of Smart . . .

The Psychology Behind a Nice Cup of Tea

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  

Freelance Writer Fairy Tales: Do You Believe This Three Myths?

Book News:

Christine @xenogsmith @gailcarriger -Lord Akeldama, Alexia, The Potentate, The Dewan and Lyall in the drawing room. (From a how to draw manga vampires book)

Quote of the Day:

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”
~ Oscar Wilde

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


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