Friday, October 21, 2011

Book #2 Soulless by Gail Carriger

Soulless is set in an alternate history version of Victorian England where werewolves and vampires are accepted as functioning members of society. Alexia Tarabotti is a woman with several critical problems: at the scandalous age of 26 she is still searching for a husband, that her late father was Italian complicates her social standing in a rigid class system, and she has no soul. The fact that she is "soulless" leaves her unaffected by the powers of supernatural beings which only further complicates her life when she accidentally kills a vampire that had attacked her. Queen Victoria sends an investigator,the brash Lord Maccon, who is himself the alpha werewolf. As disappearances in the vampire population of London's high society increase, Alexia and Lord Maccon work to solve the mystery. Alexa detests him upon meeting and struggles to maintain proper decorum and a delicate social balance while attempting to understand some new and aggrivating stirrings that appear whenever a certain Lord is present.

Publishers Weekly called this debut novel brilliant “with a blend of Victorian romance, screwball comedy of manners and alternate history.” It was the combination of the words screwball and Victorian that captured my interest. This was my first steampunk novel, paranormal or otherwise.

Alexia Tarabotti is an independent, stubborn 26-year-old who is considered to be unmarriable, and socially hindered due her late father’s Italian heritage and her large nose and darker Italian complexion. While the Victorian era characters may not appreciate her, I thoroughly enjoyed Alexia’s ability and insistence at embracing her non-conformist status. She is different from her superficial social status-addicted sisters and while made to feel the outsider in most social situations, thrives in being a learned, inquisitive, strong-minded woman.

Carringer describes this version of Victorian England and its players quite well. I was able to easily fall into this world where fasionista vampires and werewolves who fight to be comfortable in their civilized personas co-exist with normals. The world of steampunk was well introduced to me in the pages of Soulless and the sheer delight of the verbal sparring between the main characters has me looking for the sequels.

Book #1: Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich

What? Yes, yes, it is Chick-lit. Sue me. I had fun reading it. Isn’t that the point of reading? Oh, I see. You are one of those. The intellectual readers. Yes, there was a tone. I have many tones. Most are sarcastic. While I ignore you ‘lectual types, let me tell the others why I liked it.

First, it’s by Evanovich. There is nothing like one of her books to bring laughter and lightness to a stressful day. She won me over when I realized that I laugh out loud every time I read her books. If laughing truly does extend the years of your life, then Janet Evanovich has cancelled out several heart-attack burgers and years of over-indulgence in macaroons and truffles. Godiva can stay in business.

Secondly, I like the flaws of her female characters. They may be pretty and smart and sassy, but you never think that they are anyone you couldn’t pass on the street or sit next to at your condo meeting. They are not geniuses, nor models, nor Alberta Schwitzers. Like so many of her other lead characters, Stephanie is capable, clumsy, self-aware and imperfect. She falls down hills, serves burnt biscuits, has bodies dropping from her roof and can tangle verbally with the annoyingly hot looking pirate/captain.

The mary-jane possibilities are almost endless…hey, I can fall down a hill; I burn dinner regularly; once I had a dead bird on my roof and it fell off during a wind storm…okay it rolled off after the cat climbed out the window. AND, I would definitely be tangled, tongue-wise, when faced with an annoyingly hot looking yummy pirate dude. Don’t judge! I said it had been a stressful day. And pirate hot-pants was the perfect cure. It didn’t hurt that in my mind he looked a lot like Captain Tightpants either!



After an insanely log absence (really, were you that surprised) I have returned. Glancing at the books sitting too long on my to-read bookcases, I sigh. Ah my lovelies, I have missed you.

Such an absence cannot go unanswered. So it shan’t. And really, how often does one get to use the word shan’t? My punishment? Read 52 books in a single year. Minimum. And only 17 of those can be work-related preteen novels. Picture books don’t count at all, because let’s face it. I’d reach my goal by the end of the day!

So many books! So short the weekend is! Here is my list, ever being updated.

1. Love Overboard by Janet Evanovich
2. Soulless by Gail Carriger
3. Nikki Heat by Richard Castle
4. Circle 9 by Anne Heltzel
5. Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte
6. Fearless by Tim Lott