Gail Carriger's Blog

June 1, 2015

June's Book ~ Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Title: Uprooted
Author: Naomi Novik
Series: No. Stand alone!
Publisher: Random House
Release Date: May 19, 2015
Format Gail's Reading: .mobi
How Gail got it: From the publisher for blurbing (I didn't manage to read it in time to blurb)

So my March book tour, Gentle Reader, involved a great number of 1-2 hour plane rides. This, in Gail's world, means... READING. I had a number of things on my docket, including a few ARCs I'd been slipped on the down low. One of them was Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I liked it so much I decided to pick it for my June read. We have never done an alternate fairy story before.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik Uprooted is Novik's foray into alternate fairy stories (out May 19, 2015). Known for her Temeraire novels (which I have never read), this is a Grimm atmospheric piece with an immersive narrative and a bewitching sense of place.



From the blurb:

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.

{Gail's monthly read along for June is Uprooted by Naomi Novik}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





1839 Ladies' Cabinet Date-  Sunday, September 1, 1839 Item ID-  v. 21, plate 118


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Say "cheese!" The octographer will take your picture now. And I missed it while in NZ! Curses.

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Vegetarian Personal Ads: 19th-century matrimonial advertisements.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
P. G. Wodehouse's fictional locations. Such a master.

PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ;
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
Sarah of SF crowsnest says of Curtsies & Conspiracies: “All Carriger’s series are based in the same world and, having read the entirety of ‘The Parasol Protectorate’, I still found myself learning new things about the vampires and werewolves and how their society functions. Carriger somehow manages to do this without making it dull at all.”
Quote of the Day:
“It is hard to tell if that is a note of anguish I detect in his voice or if it is merely my own longings reflected back at me.”
~ Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on June 01, 2015 09:02 • 68 views

May 29, 2015

In which I review The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley...

OK, part of the reason I chose this book was because McKinley's backlist (or at least some of it) was finally put up in ebook form. I've been on a quest to move (or donate) as many of my old mass markets as possible (when one lives in 600 square feet, one makes sacrifices). So when an ebook of an old favorite comes along I re-buy it. Don't worry, I am still left with a ton of books (so many are still OP).

The Outlaws of Sherwood was not one of those I kept. I got rid of it on my third trek to live in Europe. I've always enjoyed it, but it is very sad. Or that's what I remembered. And I wasn't wrong.

From here on out there are spoilers, so be warned.

There are conceits I really like about this book. The fact that Robin is a reluctant hero and leader ("He did not like it that they deferred to him so easily."), and that he isn't a very good marksmen. Is fun to see how McKinley plays with the legend. McKinley talks a bit about the politics and her reasoning behind the historical setting and owns her own doubts and issues with these parts of the story. Any flaws there don't really bother me as much as they would were I a medievalist. But I've never paid much attention to the time period as an archaeologist (ugly pottery) and so I give her a pass. I even don't mind the whole lack of Nottingham caves thing, after all, this book was written before the internet.

I did, however, struggle a bit with Robin's character. There is a conversation between Cecily and Little John near the end of the book, as follows:

"Little John said, “You do not think Robin is a stupid man.”
She almost laughed. “No. He may be the most terrifying person I have met—because you believe what he tells you even when you know better. And yet I think he would quench that fire in him if he could—perhaps because it throws such dark shadows around the things he does not say."

I just never got this from descriptions of Robin and his behavior, I never felt I was shown this through the story, although I do love Cecily's assessment of the situation. While I don't mind being told, I'm not certain I believe. In building him up as primarily a reluctant hero, I found myself unconvinced on his leadership abilities. As McKinley herself writes, "I needed him to be a particular kind of hero with a particular set of preoccupations, surrounded by a company of people with preoccupations of their own."

Although, I did believe in his friendship with others.

The dogs stopped, confused, but the bows behind Will’s back stayed stretched.
“I have the right-hand one in my eye,” murmured Marian; “and I the left,” replied Robin. “I am content with the center,” said Much.

Perhaps my lack of faith in Robin has something to do with McKinley's style of writing. She is one of those miraculous and wonderful writers who's power is often vested the things she leave unwritten. Here's an example...

He looked at her a moment longer, but when she lifted her eyes to meet his something happened to his face, and he turned away, and picked up the little pot of tallow again.

We aren't told what happened to Little John's face, or anything really about his inner feelings but we nevertheless know that he is half in love with Cecily and uncomfortable with his own realization. Here is another example:

"I think that we cannot go back to Greentree, and be as we were.” He shrugged again—and winced; and brought his eyes back to Sir Richard. “And perhaps it is only the bruises which speak this way.”

You see? Masterful.

Normally, this style works so very well for McKinley, but for me it made Robin's character fall flat. Also while I like the love affair between Robin and Marian, I found it less interesting than those of the side characters such as Little John and Cecily and even Sybil and Eva.

That said, I had forgotten her twist near the end, that is no twist because Marian turns it down.

“But to you, too, Marian of Trafford, I give a choice; and yet what I ask of you might be a thing more hard than soldiering.” He stopped, turned, and faced her. “I would make you the new sheriff of Nottingham.”

I actually gasped out loud, between my tears, at this juncture. Yes, I spent most of the final 1/4 of the book in tears from the last stand battled against Guy (told from Tuck's perspective) to the denouement (or should I say deus ex machina?) of Richard and his conscription.

Enough of the things I found not precisely to my liking.

What do I still love about Outlaws of Sherwood ?  Enough to remember this book decades later a put it on my re-buy and reread list.

Will Scarlet
“A great hulking tatterdemalion like this and you have not treed him?"

...and Robin thought, perhaps he has learnt to use his charm so forcefully because his life has not been so easy as I would make it.

I adore the character of Will Scarlet in the legend of Robin Hood, always have. And I love McKinley's descriptions of him. (Although, I don't see him as a blond. But that is a minor quibble.)

“I have thought, every time I fled from you, of how much I missed you.…” Her voice trailed away, and Will held out his arms, and Cecily went to him. They stood silently, and he stroked her ragged hair, and she sighed and leaned against him as if exhausted.

Little John
"You cannot be as large as I am without knowing that everyone else is smaller."

Much as I do not imagine Will as a blond, I can't imagine Little John as anything but blond. But that is irrelevant to his being one of my all favorites in this book.

“Little John, you do not understand the art of conversation,” said Much.
“I understand the art of silence,” said Little John.

Robin seems very fond of Little John as well and there is sense that he understands his friend's skills and weaknesses. Perhaps this is part of the way we are being shown what a good leader Robin is, but for me it came across more as Robin being a good friend. Anyway, when Cecil first stumbles amongst them, Robin says to Little John that Cecil will be “Intimidated into behaving himself. It is a thing I value you for. I am over-inclined to yell, and I cannot loom as you do.”

McKinley's Little John, now that I think about it, perhaps informed Floote and to a certain extent Percival and Pillover. I love competent grumpy men who don't say much. They make me happy.

Cecily
“And I’ve woken up every morning since I ran away hoping that I might have one more day of it—even these last days."

As the girl who disguises herself as a boy it should come as no surprise, I hope, to you Gentle Reader that Cecily is my favorite character. When I originally read the book I can't recall if I figured it out or not. I mean, that she was a he.

Let him not be some mad lord’s only son, thought Robin, suddenly daunted. Some day we will accept someone into our company whom Sherwood cannot hold.

"But I hope his peevishness is not important. I do not like secrets; Greentree is crowded enough without them."

The revelation when it finally comes is no surprise but it is charming. Even if the actual even occurs off screen in a very Greek drama kind of way.

Little John, watching her standing next to her brother, half-glowering in the old Cecil manner and half-comforted by Robin’s words, saw for a moment what it had been like for her as Will’s little sister. Some of what she was good at, and some of what she was bad at, as his pupil, came clear to him in that moment; and something else came clear to him too, but he set it aside so quickly that he allowed himself not to recognise it for what it was.

Of course I also love the relationship between Cecily with all her rashness and brashness and Little John with all his large silence. They both battle hidden anger that comes from fear, but you can understand even before her secret is revealed why they gravitated towards one another.


“Will’s little sister saved my life,” Little John added as if inconsequentially.

I have one last think to note about this book, which I know I didn't realize on my original read. It's third person omniscient, AKA head hopping. Now Soulless is also a head hopping novel, and frankly I tend to rather like them as a reader. I enjoying knowing what other characters are thinking and I may go back and write some more myself. Possibly this has to do with being raised on Dickens but it just doesn't bother me. It's one of the things I like about a lot of romance novels. So nothing really to say about the head hop, only noting that it is there.

{Gail's monthly read along for June is Uprooted by Naomi Novik}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





Ladies' Pocket Magazine Date-  Wednesday, May 1, 1839 Item ID-  v. 21, plate 56


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Goldfish teabags will turn your cup into a fishbowl

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Robotic Octopus Arm Could Revolutionize Surgery

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
17 Behind-the-Scenes Secrets of Bookstores


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ;
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
Five Books That Broke Sacred Writing Rules (And Yet We Love Them)

Quote of the Day:
"The covered bowl proved to contain pickles so powerful that the reek of vinegar when the friar removed the lid made Much’s eyes water, who sat nearest. The pot contained a vegetable stew of uncertain origin; and the dubious wrappings did contain cheese, of a potency, in its way, to rival the pickles."
~ Robin McKinley

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 29, 2015 09:19 • 94 views

May 27, 2015

Before we get on to the doings at the fair, Gentle Reader, here's some fun news...

Kobo is offering Southwest Airlines customers complimentary access of eBooks while in flight. It's a pretty fun pilot program (pun intended) and I'm delighted to tell you that my YA publisher, Little Brown, has put forth Etiquette & Espionage. It will be available on board participating Southwest flights during the months of June and July.

For once, I'm not taking any Southwest flights during this time. But if any of you are, please let me know if you see it?

Now for a brief recap of the Steampunk World's Fair!Some Random Travel Thoughts

Flying is becoming more and more of problem, airlines seem to be getting worse, not better. I'm a frequent flyer and I fly on most major airlines. I will state, for the record, that they all pretty much suck, and they seem to be getting suckier. United held us over 2 hours on the runway at SFO because there was something wrong with the toilets. I'll just leave you to contemplate that statement and why it makes sense to board us and then hold us on the tarmac without loos...
I did observe a class act, though. There was a French couple with the baby in the row opposite me. They managed their infant with remarkable aplomb for 8 confined hours. At one point, the child shook a in corked sport's bottle and sprayed all the surrounding seats with water, particularly deluging the guy directly in front of her. Later I noticed that the Dad purchased the guy's snack for him. Classy.
I may have decided on this trip that eggs are my favorite food.
Never trust a man in pleated pants.

The fair itself was lots of fun. A 5000 person event full of musicians and performers so that us author types were rather overwhelmed. The costumes were amazing, the weather unspeakable, and the people incredibly friendly.

I ran in to an extraordinary number of my characters around and about.






Self bracketed by Ivy and Alexia.







Lovely lady in a knitted dress with a knitted Spotted Custard







Bumbersnoot







Bumbersnoot in reticule disguise







Countess Nadasdy







Self and another Alexia


It is pretty awesome to see so much cosplay of my characters! It is one of my favorite things. There were also amazing tea parties, lovely end of run dinners with new friends, good conversation, and great music. All in all, I recommend this event, I wish I lived closer for then I would go every year.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





More of Alexia and Ivy



Your Infusion of Cute . . .





Tentacle in the hallway


Your Tisane of Smart . . .





Nibbles at tea: creackers with goat cheese, pear and blackberry


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
Books of Art: 20 Medieval and Renaissance Women Reading


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ;
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
The Once & Future Podcast
Listen to our latest episode where I talk with the first lady of steampunk Gail Carriger about steampunk (duh!), steampunk in New Zealand, CHEESE, Douglas Adams, our strikingly similar approaches to writing, archeology, chaos theory…oh, and her amazing books!

Quote of the Day:


Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 27, 2015 09:37 • 57 views

May 25, 2015

Gentle Reader, please welcome Clare P to our little assembly. Some time ago Clare wrote an essay on Alexia and I asked if I might showcase it here. Sadly it has been too long since I made that request, but I found it hiding out in my pending file and brushed it off. I hope you enjoy her offering, long as it has been in coming.

Without further ado I present unto you...

Ophelia and Alexiaby Clare PAlexia from Gail Carrigers’s novel Soulless, and Ofelia from Del Toro’s film Pan’s Labyrinth, have a striking number of similarities. Not only are they both undeniably rebellious but the common character they represent is widespread throughout literature. I argue that this unruly character they embody is so appealing to read about because they represent someone people wish they could be—themselves. This familiar disobedient character breaks the moulds that others have imposed upon them and is self expressive and defiant, despite the consequences we commonly fear.






1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr

Alexia Tarabotti is supposed to embody the perfect Victorian woman. The ideal 19th century Victorian woman is to be conservatively calm, serious, tasteful, educated (but only to spare her husband and family from embarrassment), and was often considered a possession of the family. Alexia has most certainly not conformed to what was intended for her. Lord Maccon frequently complains about how mouthy and cheeky Alexia is, which is undoubtedly not acceptable if one is to be the faultless Victorian woman. One of the most important values imposed on Victorian women is the value of family; women were often married young in order to start having children sooner. Alexia can be considered the opposite of what these values put forth. Neither of the two fundamental perfect Victorian women’s values of getting married and having children are appeased by Alexia.Alexia’s mother attempts to secure one of these core Victorian women’s principles—matrimony, by forcing Lord Maccon to take her hand in marriage. However, Alexia’s dialog shows just how assertive she is. “I will not marry under duress, Mama. Nor will I force the earl into such bondage. Lord Maccon has not tendered me an offer, and I will not have him commit unwillingly. Don’t you dare press the issue!” (Soulless, page 211). This quote reveals how assertive Alexia is and how marriage, one of the values she should be pursuing, is not of the utmost importance to her. On top of these already striking differences between Alexia and the perfect Victorian woman, it is also subtly noted multiple times in the novel that Alexia is often kissing Lord Maccon, although they only have a casual relationship. Such a thing would be unthinkable to the truly perfect Victorian woman.






1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr

Now that it is clear Alexia is not conforming to the mould she was intended to, the novel further emphasizes it by presenting her half-sisters, the Loontwill girls. Felicity and Evylin are the blatant opposite of Alexia and flawlessly fit the template of being the perfect Victorian women. “No one upon meeting the three together would have though Alexia related to the other two at all” (page 27). Not only do the Loontwill girls look different but they are intellectually inferior to Alexia, like the typical basic educated Victorian woman is. To further contrast Alexia, her half-sisters are much more set on those core values a perfect Victorian woman should possess—such as marriage.Ofelia from Pan’s Labyrinth, like Alexia, also has an idyllic mould already picked out for her. Because she is a woman in Spain during the fascist regime, her role is to be mature, obedient, and submissive, with the same core goals in mind as Alexia, to be a child bearer and faithful wife. Like Alexia and her character foils, the Loontwill half-sisters, Ofelia also arguably has one—her mother, Carmen. Carmen can be seen as the ideal woman in times of fascist regime. Although her origin qualifies her to be of unequal status, compared to her new husband, Captain Vidal, her demeanour, attitude and goals seem to match quite perfectly to those of a principle woman in fascist rule. She follows orders from Captain Vidal to move to the mill where he is located although it was not advised to travel so late in the pregnancy for health reasons. “A son should be born where his father is” (Captain Vidal, Pan’s Labyrinth). Although unsafe for Carmen to come to Vidal it seems that it was never considered the other, safer, way around—Vidal coming to Carmen. Though this occurrence is seemingly minute, it reinforces Carmen’s lack of say—she has no voice or worth, which is a common view among women under fascist regime. Carmen is controlled, oppressed and demeaned by Vidal and it becomes very apparent when she attempts to tell a story of how Vidal and she had met, through her now deceased husband who had made his shoes. Vidal cringes when he hears her spill the story as it reveals her to be of a lower class than him. “Please forgive my wife. She hasn't been exposed to the world. She thinks these silly stories are interesting to others” (Captain Vidal, Pan’s Labyrinth). Vidal undermines and arguably humiliates Carmen yet she says nothing and continues to obey him.





1870s Parasol Fashion Plate via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr


Furthermore, Ofelia’s rebellious attitude is reinstated right from her first meeting with Vidal. When greeting the Captain she refuses to put down her juvenile books to offer him the correct hand to shake—and it is not tolerated by Vidal who violently grabs her hand and informs her that the other hand is appropriate to shake. From this scene we can gather that Ofelia is not willing to conform to be the ideal women in fascist times—she has a voice and an opinion and is not afraid to reveal it. Another scene where we see Ofelia rebel from what she is supposed to be is after she leaves the fig tree and returns to a bath, missing the dinner she was anticipated to attend. Carmen informs her that the Captain was very upset by her absence, and Ofelia smiles. Although another diminutive incident it stands to reinforce that she is not upset by offending her authority and is a genuine rebel. Additionally, we see the differences between Ofelia and the ideal women in fascist times when she continues to believe and pursue fairy tales. She is oppressed by her mother, who I argue is just passing down the oppression she receives from Vidal on to her daughter. “You're getting older, and you'll see that life isn't like your fairy tales. The world is a cruel place. And you'll learn that, even if it hurts” (Carmen, Pan’s Labyrinth). It is evident that Carmen is trying to replace her personal traits of a blossoming imagination, creativity, and a voice with seriousness, maturity and obedience. Ofelia also refuses to call Vidal her father, despite her mother’s wishes, “The captain has been so good to us... Please, Ofelia, call him father. It's just a word, Ofelia, just a word” (Carmen, Pan’s Labyrinth). While this is just one more outwardly small incident it just continues to strengthen Ofelia’s attitude and personality towards blindly following orders and rule.Jennifer Orme’s essay on Pan’s Labyrinth allows for an in-depth and accurate interpretation of the film. I agree with her, the core notion of the film is disobedience, and I think Ofelia underlines this theme of the film. She refuses to comply with others' desires, even if she will have to bear the consequences later, “Key to my reading of Pan’s Labyrinth is the notion of disobedience: the refusal of characters to submit to the narrative desires of others at their own expense...” (Orme, page 1). This notion of noncompliance is apparent throughout the film whether that be through the fascist war that is taking place or the fairy tale occurrences Ofelia experiences. Orme goes on to say how this is a common motif throughout literature. I strongly agree, disobedience, rule-breaking, noncompliance are all common among characters of not only fairy tales but of literature in general. It is because we as readers are intrigued by this rebellious character, perhaps we wish to be more like them. I argue that there are situations in everyday life whether that is school, relationships, or work related situations where people often wish they could rebel- break the rules or refuse to blindly comply with the request of authority. “Indeed, it is often a specific disobedient act that sets the tale in motion or continues it on its trajectory: Snow White disobeys the dwarves and answers the door to the witch; Dorothy runs away from the farm; Alice leaves her sister to chase the white rabbit. In Pan’s Labyrinth disobedience is a primary theme that is coded as positive, and even essential to survival” (Orme, 2). Here Orme explicitly points out just how common the motif of rebellion really is. This questioning and rebellion against the ideology of what they are supposed to be is common to both Alexia and Ofelia and it is what makes the so desirable to read about. Roger Clark, like Orme, also successfully recognizes this blunt and common theme, “A crucial part of Ofelia’s (and Alice’s) ‘‘finding’’ emerges from their questioning and interrogating of ideology and orthodoxy, whether it be the iron grip of patriarchy and fascism or the anarchy and absurdity of the Wonderland and Looking-Glass worlds” (Clark, 2). Here Clark once again reinforces this idea of rebellion and refusal to comply and once again, “Disobedience is an important factor in fairy tales” (Orme, 2).




¨Princess Alexandra of Wales. Late 1870s. via carolathhabsburg tumblr

To conclude, I have recognized the common character throughout literature who is rebellious, refuses to blindly comply to authorities- even if they face consequences in doing so and most importantly, does not conform to the mould chosen for them. In comparing Alexia and Ofelia it becomes explicitly apparent that they both represent this common rebellious character. Whether they are refusing to comply to their mould of the perfect Victorian woman or the ideal woman during fascist rule, they are both undoubtedly rebelling against their imposed ways. I have argued that the reason this character shows up so frequently is because they are enjoyable to read about because people often face everyday situations where they could be more like one of these character, they wish they could break the mould that they are being forced into and reveal their voice to their authority, however they don’t because of the obvious consequences that would follow. Furthermore, Orme and Clark’s articles further reinforce and embellish this common character motif.Works CitedCarriger, Gail. Soulless. New York: Orbit, 2009. 1-357. Print.Clark, Roger. “A Constant Transit of Finding”: Fantasy as Realisation in Pan’s Labyrinth. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-13. Faculty of Arts, York St John University. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.Orme, Jennifer. Narrative Desire and Disobedience in Pan's Labyrinth. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-17. Web. 11 Apr. 2011.Pan's Labyrinth. 2006. DVD.



{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}



GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





Victorian Parasols Drawing by Adam Zebediah Joseph


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Unsinkable Sam

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Chutney of Alubokhara.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
In Which Chuck Answers Why Adults Read So Much Young Adult Fiction


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ; The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
YA Bibliophile says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “I’ve loved seeing Sophronia’s character develop and simply cannot wait to see where she ends up in Manners & Mutiny! YOU REALLY NEED TO READ THESE BOOKS!!!!”


Quote of the Day:
“Lastly, tea—unless one is drinking it in the Russian style—should be drunk without sugar. I know very well that I am in a minority here. But still, how can you call yourself a true tea lover if you destroy the flavour of your tea by putting sugar in it? It would be equally reasonable to put in pepper or salt.”
~ A Nice Cup of Tea (1946)

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 25, 2015 08:13 • 222 views

May 22, 2015


I talked about how much I enjoyed this book recently and to follow up I invited the lovely author round for one of my silly interviews. Please welcome P.N. Elrod to the blog!



About you, the Author!
Tea or coffee and how do you take it?

Tea in the winter straight and very strong, coffee (the same) in the summer but only in the morning. Both should be accompanied by a cherry turnover. A proper one.

Describe your personal style for author appearances.

What I wear or how I behave? If the former I try to dress so as to not frighten adults. Comfortable shoes are a must. I have a fun pair of pink leopard-spotted basketball sneakers. If the latter I'm still working on my indoor voice.

If I were to observe the writer beast in its native environment, what surprising thing might I see? What does the environment look like?

My writing space evolved from a messy desk amid walls of books, nick-knacks, reams of loose paper, maps, and other forms of homey chaos to a clean orderly space that's easy to dust. I've a case full of Man From U.N.C.L.E. books, a swing out shelf to hold my laptop while I sit in a recliner. I don't do well sitting at a desk any more. Though I am subject to attacks from nap ninjas after lunch, I get more work done when I don't have to argue with gravity. Hanging over the love seat is a painting I did myself. It's abstract expressionism, which is artsy-fartsy-speak for “I can't paint but I'll do it anyway 'cause it's fun.”

If you drive, what do you drive?

A paid-for red two-door of American descent.

No deviating: vanilla or chocolate ice cream on a plain or a sugar cone? (Gail will use this to determine your level of sanity.)

All of them, in all combinations is not deviation, it's divine.
(Gail's assessment: Mad, absolutely mad.)

What's most likely to make you laugh?

Visually, old-fashioned pie in the face slapstick. The Three Stooges still get the job done for me and anything to do with Monty Python or the Marx Brothers. Reading, I like P.G. Wodehouse and the Lucia books by E.F. Benson.

Since writers inevitably end up in the bar, what's your poison?

I like a really cold, COLD draft beer, preferably a local micro brew, though my agent put me on to chocolate martinis, otherwise ice tea, no sweetener.



P.N. Elrod's written a lot of books, mostly urban fantasy, edited a lot of books and stories (all kinds) and would like to be a beach bum, but her Irish genes have issues with sunshine, whole subscriptions, in fact. She lives in a dull alternate universe from that of the people in her books and has an incurable addiction to chocolate and UK accents.


About your book!
What should readers eat while consuming your novel?

Anything they like, though getting jam on the pages or reading device would be unfortunate.

What form does evil take within its pages?

The kind that thinks it knows what's best for others.

Which one of your characters would you most want to kiss and why?

I should like to smooch Dr. Hamish because he looks like Martin Freeman. Whether he'd like to smooch me is another matter entirely.

What's your favorite period in history and does it influence your world building?

Too many to choose from! I like the Victorian times because the clothes are pretty, and many people then were gadget geeks, same as we are today. This book needed an alternate history from our own, and after getting into the research I decided that Victoria never meeting Albert would change everything. She does have a successful love match and four brilliant children. I base much of what's in the book on real things that were in our history, but taken a step farther. For instance, there was a huge interest in America for developing airships for fast transport after the Civil War and several start up companies. If they hadn't failed for lack of funding, we'd have a somewhat different world now, I think.

Which one of your characters would you most like to slap and why?

Teddy. He's such a prig and doesn't know it.

Without spoilers, what's the funnest (or funniest) part of the book?

When Miss Pendlebury bucks up her shocked male escort with the observation, “It's only an orgy.”

If your story smelled of something, what would that be?

Cinnamon.




Her name is Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the queen) and she's your typical scone-nibbling, pistol-packing, martial arts practicing, tea-sipping forensic Reader on her majesty's Psychic Service. Expect alternate history, masked assassins, Victorian Special Forces, gun battles just steps from Downing Street, several gallants with a keen interest in Miss Pendlebury's welfare, shocking betrayals, stout-hearted defenders, impeccably dressed upper class family drama raised to toxic levels, and a really good, strong, hot cup of tea.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





AP_Candy_ via lolitahime tumblr


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Jello art
Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Anamorphic Tea Cups Illusion

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
This is why I try to pay it forward, go Tee! Ten Years of Family: Ravencon 2015


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ;
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
The Compulsive Reader says of Waistcoats & Weaponry: “Gail Carriger may be known for her lovably ridiculous characters and their outrageous antics, but what I really love about her books is the character growth.”
Quote of the Day:
“folded former bank where the Brotherhood of the Protective Order of the Sasquatch met.”
~ Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 22, 2015 08:07 • 61 views

May 20, 2015


It features Alex, a physic (a little like being an empath), and various other entrants into the occult. I would call it more gaslight fantasy, as opposed to steampunk, in the vein of The Native Star by M. K. Hobson. I found the plot enjoyable to follow, the side characters very intriguing, and the love interest (or is it interests) appealing. For me, I would prefer a little more nookie and a little less gore, but you know how I roll.


The Hanged Man by P. N. Elrod
On a freezing Christmas Eve in 1879, a forensic psychic reader is summoned from her Baker Street lodgings to the scene of a questionable death. Alexandrina Victoria Pendlebury (named after her godmother, the current Queen of England) is adamant that the death in question is a magically compromised murder and not a suicide, as the police had assumed. After the shocking revelation contained by the body in question, Alex must put her personal loss aside to uncover the deeper issues at stake, before more bodies turn up.

Turning to some choice allies—the handsome, prescient Lieutenant Brooks, the brilliant, enigmatic Lord Desmond, and her rapscallion cousin James—Alex will have to marshal all of her magical and mental acumen to save Queen and Country from a shadowy threat. Our singular heroine is caught up in this rousing gaslamp adventure of cloaked assassins, meddlesome family, and dark magic.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





1838 Ladies' Cabinet Date-  Sunday, July 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 20, plate 19


Your Infusion of Cute . . .
These aren’t your grandmother’s willow pattern plates

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Time Travel Kitchen is cooking from my very favorite research book on food and domestic life in 1876! She talks all about what the food tastes like and everything. Brilliant!

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
What You Should Know About Taxes When You're a Freelancer


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ;
The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
Kitty Shields reviews Prudence, “Carriger has always been one for dialogue, and she manages to weave layers and barbs into the verbal fencing between Rue and just about anybody she comes up against. If you’re a fan of language and Victorian sensibilities, this is a book for you.”

Quote of the Day:
“Writing is a way of talking without being interrupted.”
~ Jules Renard

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 20, 2015 09:36 • 127 views

May 13, 2015

My dear Gentle Reader, I am off to the Steampunk World's Fair! I hope to see some of you there. I rarely get to the East Coast so this is your opportunity to catch me in person.

Before I get on to this weekend, I have a new teapot in my life. It pours well and brews a low grade leaf beautifully with no particulate. It produced 3 mugs of perfect tea and is my new pride and joy.


It's the Forlife 24oz curve teapot with infuser for $30. It comes in white, blue, red, grey, lime, purple, orange, turquoise, black, green, yellow. And it is awesome!

Also I watched Boy Meets Girl. It is wonderful. My favorite movie this year.

And now...



Here is what I am up to at the Fair!
FRIDAY May 15, 2015
3:00 ~ 4:00pm Kaffeklatsch
Location disclosed at sign up

SATURDAY May 16, 2015
12:30 ~ 1:30pm Archaeology and Steampunk Panel
Radisson Salon C

2:00 ~ 3:00pm Gender in Steampunk Panel
Embassy Stage, Embassy

5:00 ~ 6:00pm Steampunk Lit panel
Radisson Salon C

SUNDAY May 17, 2015
12:30 ~ 2:30pm VIP Meet & Greet
Midway tent

3:30 ~ 4:30pm Signing/Autograph session
Embassy Centennial Room

I imagine the rest of the time I will be found where there is either A. Food or B. Alcohol. I am one of only a few authors there and I must represent! Rumor is the hotel has wireless, so I will be connected to the interwebs. (Although hotel wireless is always... hotel wireless.) As always, I'll be all over the Twitters so if you want to meet up and can't find me, I shouldn't be hard to ping.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





Lost In Time by Will Davidson for Vogue Australia


Your Infusion of Cute . . .





Pride and Prejudice Book Vintage Tote Bag $20


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
SCy-Fy interview with Pornokitsch

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The Evolution of a Book Cover


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ; The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:





Waistcoats & Weaponry in Japan


Quote of the Day:
“Someday when alternate dimension technology has advanced into closet architecture we may finally know peace.”
~ @FergotIt on twitter

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 13, 2015 10:10 • 119 views

May 11, 2015


This started as a tumblr post, Gentle Reader, and has now migrated to the main blog. I travel so very much these days that the pursuit of the perfect luggage is never ending. Here is where my collection currently stands:


1. Large: Izod hard sided expandable case
Got this puppy at Ross or TJ Maxx for $60. The hard sided case is great for hats and larger quantities of costuming. Sadly it got a massive crack in it on my New Zealand trip, so now I need to replace it.
Pros: weatherproof, protective, durable, rolls easily, light interior.
Cons: light exterior means already quite scuffed. No extension strip for attaching second rolly.



2. Medium: Eagle Creek (Switchback 26) convertible backpack (with zip-off mini backpack)
I have had this piece for almost 15 years. It works as a rolly or big backpack (although I've only used it as such a handful of times), and the front zips off to be a little backpack (which I've used a lot). I love it. I can travel somewhere with it stuffed full of gifts, check it, then zip off the front backpack, stuff it inside, and on a larger plane, carry it on to fly back. It is the ultimate versatile traveling machine. And if you only want one, pick this one. I used only it for a decade, before plane restrictions got complicated and needed to be hacked.
Pros: versatility & durability, trailing strap.
Cons: black interior (they seemed to have fixed this in the latest iteration), not great as an actual long term backpacking pack, not weatherproof, tippy.





3. Small: square-ish Lucas travel case with multiple pockets
This is my new replacement case for my baby* (see lamentation at the end of this post) and is the luggage I use on tour and in any other instances where I'm flying carry on only. I can live out of this case plus the tote for a week, quickly and on-the-go constantly. It passes through as a carry on on most domestic flights—necessary as I often do not have time when I land to wait to pick up a bag, not even gangplank valet.
Pros: basic carry on size, nice long, strong carry straps, full handle rather than the new single telescopic handle.
Cons: does not fit in all overheads or under seats, wheels stick out too much and 4 are not necessary for this size, plastic pockets inside rather than the superior stretchy mesh, no stacking sleeve (likely too big anyway), wide end handle (narrow end is better, it allows you to pull through the aisle). I'm looking to replace this one.


4. Very small Travelon underseat
I purchased this specifically for long haul international flights and longer writing retreats. In it I can stash all the things I would be devastated if I lost in my checked bag, but don't necessarily need for the flight (like computer, note books, corsets, first day outfit, jewelry, etc....) and it still works to wheel a stacked tote as a I run to catch a connection. It’s good for those situations when I have to pack a tote heavy and really need something to rest it on at the airport. It’s also great as an event bag for actually walking around conventions, so that as I collect books and gifts, I don’t have to carry them over my shoulder.
Pros: cute, water resistant, many color options, very light.
Cons: perhaps a little too small, quilting style adds unnecessary bulk, no computer sleeve, straps are not long enough to hold jacket so I need to pack a large s-beaner to compensate.


5. Kate Spade long weekender tote with multiple pockets
What you can't really tell from the picture is that this tote is almost as long as a duffel bag, but it still looks like a purse (perception is everything when boarding planes). It would certainly carry more than the above Travelon and possibly I could pack more than my Lucas rolly, but that would be a lot of weight on my shoulder. I got it so that I can do a steampunk event, and this bag is long enough to carry any or all of my corsets and parasols.
Pros: cute, very long, light interior with tons of pockets.
Cons: perhaps a little too light in color so hard to keep clean, perhaps a pinch too big, not padded at all, not weatherproof, likely won't get as much use as my other bags but cost more because of designer tag.



6. Ultimate practical tote
I have the two different sizes and types of totes to compensate for any residual quantity of stuff that doesn’t fit into the bag I’ve chosen to bring, but this one is most commonly used. Believe it or not I was resistant to the style at first, but that mesh top and the way it sits and opens so easily is PERFECT for under the seat. I had to modify it, for it came with two pockets, one zipper and one Velcro. I slit the bottom of the Velcro one and superglued on some ribbon to stiffen it so it could become a handle sleeve for stacking on other luggage.
Pros: cute, padded, durable, weatherproof (sides, not top), mesh top and wide mouth is very convenient for flying.
Cons: needed modifications to work, no interior pockets, trim/straps not leather and beginning to fray, I'd rather a single strap over two smaller ones, a pinch too small—if it were 4 - 6 inches longer I wouldn't have needed a second tote.

In general, this luggage hoard allows me the freedom to travel to any possible event. I'm not one of those who thinks you have to pay bank for luggage. You can usually find a good knock off or surplus at your local bargain bin. Unless you really do travel constantly and only want the one perfect piece, then you might have to really shell out.

Gail Recommends when Buying Luggage...1. Ideally all bags should:
    a. match but stand out from the crowd
    b. be weatherproof
    c. have light colored interiors
    d. come with leather (or strong canvas with leather pad) detachable straps
    c. have multiple interior pockets; particularly appealing is the stretchy mesh variety

2. All wheeled bags except for the largest one should only have two wheels. In the end, the latest craze for spinning bags is more annoying than useful. It tends to add lot of length and the constant spinniness can get quite annoying when at a standstill or on a ramp.

3. No handles that are from a single pole, in the new "T" style (because stacked bags spin off when running).

4. Ideally, the 4 smaller bags should all be very light weight, have a shoulder strap, have a sleeve for going over handles so they can be stacked, and be somewhat reinforced for carrying computer stuff.

As you can see, given my above collection, I haven’t managed to hit all 4 requirements. But this is an ongoing project, and after five years, I’m pretty happy with what I have amassed.

My favorite piece is dead and sadly no longer in production (it was a cheapie from Ross, I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did).


I've never loved the color, and I'd rather it were a short end handle, rather than a wide end handle, but it worked so well as a rolly carry on, fit in almost every overhead, and could be squeezed under the seat in a pinch. I've never had it taken away at the gate, not even by Spirit. (I know, right?)

Must keep looking for the perfect carry on.


{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





La Belle Assemblee Date-  Thursday, June 1, 1837 Item ID-  v. 18, plate 87


Your Infusion of Cute . . .





Cute via michaelmoonsbookshop tumblr


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
20 Things Every Traveling Gal Needs

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
The Traveling Author ~ Packing Tips


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ; The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:





Sophronia cosplay in Rotorura, New Zealand



Quote of the Day:





What the world wants to know is... What is CornEvil?



Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 11, 2015 09:06 • 109 views

May 8, 2015

I didn't get as much reading or listening (for that matter) done in New Zealand as I had hoped, Gentle Reader. This was for good reason—too many other things to do, and then there was sleep. Sleep is nice. But here are some quick reviews of the books I did read and enjoy.

On the Fence by Kasie West
I picked this one up on the recommendations of one of my taste curator blogs (could have been Skye?) anyway... it's basically a contemporary romance YA with a tomboy protagonist. It was sweet and I liked the relationship between the main character and her brothers and father very much. Reminded me of these books I read in the 80s with a smiling high school girl on the cover. You know those ones you graduate on to reading after Sweet Valley High? Only this was better written. Enjoyable, but you have to already know that you like this kind of book.

Angel Voices by Rowan Speedwell
Short story Christmas contemporary gay romance. I like this author's long form stuff, but this one wasn't really to my taste.

My Noble Knight by Laurel O'Donnell
Light Medieval (very light on the historical accuracy) with lots of romance and some bits of nookie. It does feature that girl-with-a-sword (or should I say lance?) defies-patriarchy trope I love so much, but for me it doesn't work as well outside of fantasy. That said, I liked this book enough to buy another one by this author. I enjoy books that make me smile, and I found myself grinning as I read this one. That would make this my first BookBub success. (So far, everything I've tried via the service has been less than stellar, shall we say?) The romance was sweet, but there's no sexy times so don't go hoping for them.


Renegade Magic and Stolen Magic by Stephanie Burgis
Books 2 and 3 in the Kat, Incorrigible series. I said I had to find out where Alexander came from. So I did. I still like the YA novella best of all this series. I think I'm just not into middle-grade. I want Stephanie to write more romance. Go on, do eeeeeeet!

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
This month's book pick. Full review in a different blog post.

The Twelve Kingdoms: The Mark of the Tala (Book One) by Jeffe Kennedy
Romantic shifter fantasy princess story. I found the characters and the romance quite engaging but the world-building left me rather cold. That often seems to be my biggest concern with romance-comes-first books. I don't mind if there isn't much world-building but what there is either falls flat or isn't original enough for me. (I read a recent article that suggests this may have nothing to do with the author, which both upsets me and drives me towards reading more indie.) I've bought the second one in the series, and the third comes out soon featuring a warrior woman, but I'm talking a breather with something more developed. I might go back to Tanya Huff for a while.

And, frankly there is my own world to delve into. Manners & Mutiny proofs incoming.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





La Belle Assemblee Wednesday, August 1, 1838 Item ID-  v. 20, plate 31


Your Infusion of Cute . . .





1890s bicycle ladies via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The Art of Hairwork Collection

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
A Quick Guide to Beta Reader Etiquette


PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ; The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:
Meghan B. on SF Signal says of Prudence: “Prudence is a complete delight. It’s funny, smart and completely aware of how absurd it can be. Carriger uses her new characters with aplomb and leads them on a wild goose chase that nearly becomes all out war.”

Quote of the Day:
“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
~ Cyril Connolly

Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list. She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 08, 2015 08:04 • 88 views

May 6, 2015

The good news just keeps coming in, Gentle Reader. I just found out Waistcoats & Weaponry is in the finals for a Locus award, along side Paolo who's a friend of mine (not to mention Joe, Ian, and Garth who I greatly admire). What an unexpected pleasure!

And now on to your regularly scheduled blog post...

After an epic drive around the South Island, the AB and I headed to Auckland, where we spent four days exploring the city. I visited lots of thrift and consignment shops and rather fell in love with the modern meets artsy Auckland aesthetic. I didn't buy anything though, because I hadn't any luggage space. All my free space was filled with L&P and Tim Tams.


Auckland put on quite the show for us. It's a lovely city and we spent most of our time there just wandering around.


We decided not to visit (yet another) vineyard and thus never got to any of the islands. Perhaps next time we are in town we will hop a ferry. Instead we gloried in the urban world, having just spent a great deal of time driving across vast tracts of rural land.






Look at me getting all artistic with the pictures.


"Getting urban" for Gail means eating all the things. And we did. There was a tasting menu at a Japanese restaurant (WHY IS THIS NOT A THING?), gourmet ice cream (overrated), a truly special farm to table experience at Ortolana involving lamb, and a disappointing and ultimately unsuccessful hunt for the perfect pavlova. (The Pavlova: The Story over on The Old Foodie.)






The Pavlova that wasn't right.


In the interest of getting myself away from a food report, I should also say that I wasn't a total slacker. The AB's definition of "getting urban" means art shows and museums and the like. Also, we did stop by my Kiwi publishing house. They were utterly charming and stuffed us silly with New Zealand cheese and wine, of which they are justifiably proud. It made me think that my US editor, Devi, really ought to be made known to them: cheese and wine are two of her favorite things.


And that's it for this long run of hijacking the blog for travel posts.

Or you think it is... wha ha ha! I have another trip right around the corner. I'll have my programming stuff up the Wednesday before I leave for New Jersey and the Steampunk World's Fair and then there will be a report on the event, and then we will return you to your regular Gail blogging warbles.

{Gail's monthly read along for May is The Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .





Parasols on display in the Auckland Museum


Your Infusion of Cute . . .





Auckland Gull


Your Tisane of Smart . . .
Think Your City is Dirty? Try Living in 19th Century London.

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .





Pottle is my new favorite word.



PROJECT ROUND UP


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



The Books! [image error] The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3Waistcoats & Weaponry, 4 Manners & Mutiny [image error] The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence, 2 Imprudence The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels Soulless Vol. 1, Soulless Vol. 2, Soulless Vol. 3 [image error] [image error] $0.99 short stories (ebook only) Marine Biology, My Sister's Song , & Fairy Debt ; The Curious Case of the Werewolf That Wasn't, the Mummy That Was, and the Cat in the Jar
Book News:





Frini Georgakopoulos via FB: Cosplaying Alexia


Quote of the Day:





Virgin Radio Lebanon  FB



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The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its Facebook Group.
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Published on May 06, 2015 09:29 • 41 views