Shellie’s quick take:A sweet and “bookish” story about a house that helps lost but tal...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
2.5 stars actually.
Shellie’s quick take:A sweet and “bookish” story about a house that helps lost but talented women find themselves. It’s magical realism for female bibliophiles.
Shellie’s description: There is a special house near London located on a street called Hope. It calls to exceptional women to live in its walls when they are in crisis. What’s unusual about the house is that you cannot see it unless you have been chosen by it. In fact many famous women have arrived and received its help over its 200-year life and their pictures cover the walls.
As the story alternates between a handful of characters that are in need of assistance, we slowly get a picture of why the current set of women are there. They are then magically given what they require so that they can move on in their lives.
Shellie’s thoughts: On the plus side it’s an easy-to-hold and physically small book with some cute ideas. It has an eclectic group of gifted main characters including one that is over 60 and another that is LGBT. There is also an impressive list of the long-deceased prior inhabitants, whose ghosts visit its current residents with their advice and insight. With the dead’s accomplished mini bios at the end for reference, the book has a slight feminist perspective highlighting the women that have paved the way both for the current residents and for women in general.
However, even though it has chocolate, ghosts, fashion, romance and advice, it was a bit trite for my tastes. And sadly, though the story line gave me the desire to want to know what was going to happen to the characters, the writing did not pull me into the text and consequently I felt the desire to skip parts of it.
Do not let my slightly negative thoughts deter you; I am seeing positive reviews from a variety of readers. I did think the book was okay, but would not put in on my favorite list for magical realism. I would recommended it for literary-minded romance readers who want everything tied up neat and sweet in the end and who like a bit of magic in their reads. 2.5 stars for this debut novel.(less)
A darkly intriguing mystery/romance and the second book in an action packed steampunk series. Including a brillia...moreOriginal review at Layers of Thought.
A darkly intriguing mystery/romance and the second book in an action packed steampunk series. Including a brilliant and strong willed female lead that goes against the Victorian-like social norms of the setting, and perhaps a glimpse of a “Jack the Ripper–ish” sort of villain.
*(SPOILER ALERT) Please note if you have not read the first in this series this review does contain spoilers. Read my review for Tarnished (book #1) and pick it up first. I believe that they are still selling the ebook version for .99 cents at various online retailers. What a deal!
About: In a realistic yet fantastical setting – a steam powered Victorian London - we have the second in this atmospheric series. The complex and strong main character, Cherry St. Croix, was once a circus waif and performer, giving her physical attributes which allow her to pursue and apprehend persons of greater strength and stature than herself. A petite red-head with striking thick hair which she covers with lampblack on her outings into the polluted city underworld, she is not of bad character. Her darkness is due to forced circumstance. She is addicted to Laudanum (a poppy -derived opiate that was popular during Victorian times) and is also what is termed a “collector” – where she finds wanted persons or information for nefarious others for a price. It’s her way to maintain her addiction and to prevent herself from going mad due to the constrained mores for women of the times. Cherry does her best to get by in this world where women aTarnishedre not allowed to own property and are considered wards of their male family members.
In the first book of the series (Tarnished) we become familiar with Cherry, her romantic entanglements, and find out that she is the daughter of a crazy scientist and a beautiful socialite. In this second book, Cherry is in pursuit of a killer (she thinks Jack the Ripper perhaps?) who is dissecting the underworld “sweets” (prostitutes.) However, she finds that there is in fact another killer – so another mystery ensues.
Thoughts: Karina Cooper writes in an old fashioned convoluted style in this series, which works very well for the setting. It creates text that feels authentic and Victorian-ish. I do need to mention that readers may have to consult Google when looking up some of the old fashioned English words the author uses. Even John (my UK/English dictionary/husband) had some difficulty telling me what several words meant. But this is all good. We both “learnt somefink”.
It also has another fun cover much like the first in the series. I am really glad there is not a naked guy or a lot of skin featured on it. Which brings me to mention that I liked the light and tasteful romantic involvement included in both books since there’s nothing worse than a sex scene that makes me laugh when it’s not supposed to.
What happens to Cherry as we find out more about her and her romantic interests is the best part of this story. Cooper does romance well. But most compelling is how the author sets up this book for the next in the series with it’s heart pounding, drop off the edge of your seat ending. So don’t expect closure, I am thinking the next in this series will have a “Kill Bill-ish” flavor set in steampunk Victorian times? I can’t wait.
Recommended for readers who like strong and dark female leads, unexpected twists, a bit of a murder mystery and of course romance and steampunk. Skip this if you are looking for a solid ending, want happily ever after, or are not interested in being addicted to a series. I enjoyed this book A LOT. It’s a fun second book to hopefully a long series. 4 stars. My only regret is that I am not reading this series after the entire collection has been completed. (less)
A laugh-out-loud, fast-paced, new romantic urban fantasy series with a sexy love triangle, bound to keep r...moreOriginal review posted at Layers of Thought.
A laugh-out-loud, fast-paced, new romantic urban fantasy series with a sexy love triangle, bound to keep readers sleep deprived and waiting for the next in the series.
About: Ciel is a feisty, petite red head with loads of freckles which she dislikes every time she looks in the mirror. But she doesn’t linger too much on her perceived inadequacies and gets on with life since she has a new business; after all she is an adult. Or so she tells herself, even though her family and friends behave otherwise.
Ciel’s business is based upon using her genetic talent of “aura adapting” (the ability to take on the form of another person) to assist wealthy clients in need. In her latest job, Ciel has taken on the image of a drop-dead gorgeous wealthy young woman. She is to travel to the Bahamas to obtain a proposal for marriage and an engagement ring from her client’s even richer and perfectly handsome boyfriend. But to Ciel’s chagrin things don’t go as easily as she hoped or planned.
When Ciel’s dreams of a sexy (she has been granted sanctioned sex with her client’s boyfriend), luxurious and “paid vacation” becomes a mess, she is more than a little upset. Even though the bungalow of the two wealthy love birds’ is blown into pieces, and the hunky would be groom is missing, Ciel still has her job to think about. She needs to return her client’s fiancé (with the ring) to collect her earned money even though it’s Neo-Vikings that are the cause of the problem.
The story becomes even more twisted, and hilarious, as Ciel’s two very male, sexy, meddlesome, and controlling childhood friends (aura adaptors too) become deeply involved – believing that she needs protecting and is incapable of taking care of herself.
Thoughts: I devoured this book in three sittings, which is rare for me. I am a “grazer” when it comes to reading. Meaning: I read bits and pieces of many different books, sometimes completing them, often not. However, with In a Fix I had to find out what was going to happen next in the book on several levels - dramatically and romantically.
But the best part is that I laughed myself silly throughout the story, and I liked the main character. Ciel, is self effacing, strong and will not let life’s messy events keep her from getting her job done or doing mostly the right thing. I liked that she refused to let her two male childhood friends, hell-bent on keeping her in the dark and safely in an office, stop her from living her life, taking care of her new business and haphazardly saving a few lives.
I recommend pushing through to the second third of the book if you are having any trouble with the first several chapters, it was worth it for me. It’s highly recommended for its snarky (beware of strong language) and not completely politically correct humor (what truly funny humor is), pant-inducing romance scenes (includes some hilarious and sexy nudity), and its old fashioned chivalry with a modern twist (guys will be guys humor.) This was great genre fun! It’s a 4 star in my opinion. I will be waiting for the next book in the series.(less)