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Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Mini Reviews (2): The Evolution of Mara Dyer, Everneath & Etiquette & Espionage

Because I am so behind in writing up posts for the entire month of June, I am breaking down and writing another Mini Review post to get caught up. I have not read much this month, and I am hoping to at least break LAST June’s pathetic 5 book record. I am up to 4 this month. It’s not looking good to get much more read since I just can’t get into anything I start reading! But enough about my reading misery – on to the mini reviews!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer, #2)
by Michelle Hodkin

Mara Dyer knows she isn’t crazy. She knows that she can kill with her mind, and that Noah can heal with his. Mara also knows that somehow, Jude is not a hallucination. He is alive. Unfortunately, convincing her family and doctors that she’s not unstable and doesn’t need to be hospitalised isn’t easy. The only person who actually believes her is Noah. But being with Noah is dangerous and Mara is in constant fear that she might hurt him. She needs to learn how to control her power, and fast! Together, Mara and Noah must try and figure out exactly how Jude survived when the asylum collapsed, and how he knows so much about her strange ability…before anyone else ends up dead! (goodreads.com)

Last year I was wowed by The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer and eagerly awaited the sequel. Unfortunately the sequel came out while I was in the middle of NOT reading and doing a lot more studying and work stuff so it took me a while to pick this book up. I was not disappointed when I finally did buy and read it. This book was part of my awesome book groove that started in May, except I just didn’t have time to finish it before the end of the month. I could not put the book down and I was on the edge of my seat and holding my breath almost all the way through it. The fact that Mara was being stalked by a dead person was so creepy and made me suspicious of everyone in the story – except for Noah. I still hold fast to my swooning reaction to Noah from the first book. I am not one to get gooey over fictional characters but every once in a while there’s a male protagonist who floats my boat, or is my cup of tea or some other odd clich?d thing. Noah is one of them. Sigh. (Although I will admit to feeling a little creepy crushing on a teen character. Please do not send me to jail. I help myself feel better about this realizing that if this were a TV show, he’d probably be played by some guy in his mid-to-late 20s and then it’s not so bad. *cough*) I didn’t realize this was a trilogy (no idea why) so I was completely stunned by the ending. Bottom line? I WOULD LIKE BOOK THREE NOW, PLEASE!

Everneath (Everneath, #1)
by Brodi Ashton

Last spring, Nikki Beckett vanished, sucked into an underworld known as the Everneath. Now she’s returned—to her old life, her family, her boyfriend—before she’s banished back to the underworld . . . this time forever. She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her, six months for good-byes she can’t find the words for, six months to find redemption, if it exists.

Nikki longs to spend these precious months forgetting the Everneath and trying to reconnect with her boyfriend, Jack, the person most devastated by her disappearance—and the one person she loves more than anything. But there’s just one problem: Cole, the smoldering immortal who enticed her to the Everneath in the first place, has followed Nikki home. Cole wants to take over the throne in the underworld and is convinced Nikki is the key to making it happen. And he’ll do whatever it takes to bring her back, this time as his queen. As Nikki’s time on the Surface draws to a close and her relationships begin slipping from her grasp, she is forced to make the hardest decision of her life: find a way to cheat fate and remain on the Surface with Jack or return to the Everneath and become Cole’s queen. (goodreads.com)

Everneath is a sort of modern-day retelling of Persephone and Hades and I am not entirely sure what I thought of it. I read it pretty quickly and I didn’t dislike it, but I wasn’t WOWed by it either. I think I liked it enough to want to read the next books though. It took me a while to warm up to the characters and I really didn’t like Cole. The relationships in this story were walking the edge of the All Consuming Teen Infatuation line that insta-love falls into. Of course Nikki and Jack have a relationship before you meet her and it’s nothing at all like insta-love but I am just not fan of stories where the characters’ every waking and breathing moments are consumed with each other. On one hand, I get that Nikki’s anchor is Jake and this is what helps her live, but I’m just a cranky old lady and I don’t LIKE romance novels. 😉 It became way more interesting once we learned about the Daughters of Persephone and that’s when I decided I wanted to read the other books in the series. Eventually.

Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1)
by Gail Carriger

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners—and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education. (goodreads.com)

I am a huge fan of the Parasol Protectorate series, so of course I was excited about this debut YA series set in the same world. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this book at all. It was difficult for me to get through but I did because I was hoping at some point it would start to appeal to me. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. One of the things I loved about the adult series were the little bits of ridiculousness scattered throughout the normal (or what went for normal in that world). The main problem I had with this YA series was that EVERYTHING was ridiculous. Almost as if it was in there because that’s what people loved about the original series. You take the one thing that people loved and just over-saturate the next thing with it, making it not enjoyable and not funny at all. Comedy movies do the same thing all the time and I think that’s where they go wrong. You need the balance of normal and silly to make the silly work properly. Every single character name in this book was strange and silly. I just gave up on trying to pronounce the names because it was getting on my nerves. Everything had a silly name for it and with the exception of Bumbersnoot the mechanimal (I liked THAT!) I felt it was just way too over the top. It was almost like every little aspect of this book had to be some sort of gag. It made me cranky more than amused me and I didn’t laugh out loud once, I just sighed in exasperation many times. I really, truly wanted to love this book but I didn’t and I don’t think I will be continuing with the series at all. This makes me very sad. 🙁


 Timeless (Parasol Protectorate, #5)
by Gail Carriger

Alexia Tarabotti, Lady Maccon, has settled into domestic bliss. Of course, being Alexia, such bliss involves integrating werewolves into London High society, living in a vampire’s second best closet, and coping with a precocious toddler who is prone to turning supernatural willy-nilly. Even Ivy Tunstell’s acting troupe’s latest play, disastrous to say the least, cannot put a damper on Alexia’s enjoyment of her new London lifestyle.

Until, that is, she receives a summons from Alexandria that cannot be ignored. With husband, child, and Tunstells in tow, Alexia boards a steamer to cross the Mediterranean. But Egypt may hold more mysteries than even the indomitable Lady Maccon can handle. What does the vampire Queen of the Alexandria Hive really want from her? Why is the God-Breaker Plague suddenly expanding? And how has Ivy Tunstell suddenly become the most popular actress in all the British Empire? (goodreads.com)

I can’t believe I forgot that this book came out in March! Back in July, I thought March felt like an eternity away and when it arrived, I’d completely forgotten about it. Such is my state of mind these days. Thankfully, I picked up Timeless before we headed off on our long weekend trip. I didn’t read much, but I managed to finish (and start this post!) while on the train home. Go, me!

Although, I have to say, this train ride home is awfully bumpy causing me to mis-type way more than I normally do. Bah.

My love affair with the Parasol Protectorate series has lasted through five glorious books. I am sad to see the series end however happy that it ended on a high note rather than end when it lost its appeal.

A few years have past since the last book and Alexia’s infant-inconvenience is now just an Infant (and referred to as such throughout the book, which made me giggle. A lot. I now want to call my year-old nephew “Infant” all the time. heheheheh)

I don’t know how much to tell you about this book if you haven’t read the series yet, but I do think it was a nice way to wrap up the series. I shall miss Lady and Lord Maccon and of course, the delightful Lord Akeldama and sweet dandy Biffy, but I think it was time to part with these characters lest they overstay their welcome.

This series makes me laugh and it holds my ever-waning attention fairly well. It’s a fun historical, steampunk, urban fantasy journey and the characters are just brimming with, well, character. I cannot pass by a store selling hats anymore without immediately thinking of this series and Alexia’s dear bosom friend Mrs. Ivy Tunstall. I find I want to buy ALL OF THE HATS and the more outrageous the better. Alas, I wouldn’t wear them anywhere so they’d just be a waste of money (much better spent on books, I dare say) and take up space in my home. I shall leave the hat buying to Ivy.

If this book doesn’t make you want to buy a parasol, outrageous hat and drink bucket loads of tea, I don’t know what to tell you. Werewolves and vampires have never been so charming and interesting to me.

The one thing I have found is that those who loved the first book because of it’s focus on romance have not quite liked the books that followed. I suggest you try sticking to it and think of this less as historical romance (because it’s not, though it does have it’s moments) and just immerse yourself in a historical urban fantasy novel and have fun.

These books should make you chuckle more that once. I promise!

The Parasol Protectorate

  1. Soulless
  2. Changeless
  3. Blameless
  4. Heartless
  5. Timeless

Out of My Pocket #27

Hey, remember when this used to be a regular feature on my blog? I have to ask you people these things because I am failing as a blogger lately. Anyhoo, looks like the last OoMP post was in February 2010!! That’s over two years ago. Golly, have I really bought so few books? Go, me!

Previous OoMP posts can be found here!

At Christmas time I bought a ton of books with gift cards. I have read very few of those books. I was supposed to have something read and reviewed last Tuesday, yet I haven’t even cracked the cover open. I’m just a big puddle of restless misery right now. Although last evening we ended up at the bookstore near us because we happened to be in the area for other things. I picked up two books I knew were out that I wanted and two surprise ones. I am hoping that one of these will help kick start that reading drive again. Goodreads has already started telling me I’m 3 books behind in my goal for the year. I don’t like Goodreads’ attitude. So negative.

I was more than happy to find The Extraordinary Secrets of April May and June on the bargain shelf because it’s been a book that has always piqued my interest, but I was never brave enough to try it. I couldn’t say no to $4.99.

In other news, I just spent over an hour in photoshop trying to come up with a different header image for my blog – both blogs, really. I just… I’m all creatived out lately. I have nothing inside of me. I want to be creative and I want to care about things, but I have nothing. Emptiness. My muse has deserted me and run off with my imagination somewhere. Probably Disney World where they are having a hoot of a time without me. Bastards.

I hate my header. I just tossed something up there since I lost my regular one when my hard drive crashed. I just don’t have it in me to create things. Or read. Or sing. I’m just an empty shell.

Enough woe is me.. I’m really not as depressed as I sound. I’m just in a really weird head space and I can’t figure out what I want to do and I don’t seem to have anything but apathy towards so many things right now. Ugh. If you have any helpful ideas of how to get my groove back, feel free to share them. 😉

That being said, I am not going to write the titles or link them to goodreads as I normally do. No desire to put that much effort into this. I just felt like I should post something.

Ugh! I am so angry at myself for being in this funk! I don’t even want to READ! READ! That’s like, my thing. Boo. Hiss.


Heartless (The Parasol Protectorate #4)
by Gail Carriger

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband’s past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux’s latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.

Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf’s clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama’s second best closet? (goodreads.com)

Had I not been desperately longing for this book already, I probably would have been sold just on the words “zombie porcupines”.

I will admit to being slightly worried that I would not enjoy this book as much as the others when I started it. I found the first couple of chapters slightly dry and I couldn’t care less about pregnancy, although I have to  admit that no one does pregnancy like Alexia Maccon. She is so awesome and funny. The humour and action picked up pretty quickly after my initial brow crease of worry and then the laughing out loud commenced, much to my husband’s dismay I am sure. I am certain he also loves when I randomly read him passages of dialogue from the story without any context. My husband is a patient man and obviously loves me very much. Since reading these books I often refer to him as “Husband” and told him he should call me “Wife”. I think it’s catching on. 😉

Gail Carriger must have an amazing sense of humour because these books never fail to make me laugh and entertain me so thoroughly each and every time. I am very happy that both Jenny and Kay read then posted about Soulless and encouraged me to read them. I think this is my best series discovery of the year. I am thankful that I also discovered it while I had a short time to wait between finishing the third book and the fourth being pubbed. Sadly I have to wait until MARCH 2012 for the fifth book and with the way Heartless ended I am certainly eager to see what happens in the next book. Such intrigue!

A couple of things confused me during this story though, but I will not write out those questions here so I don’t spoil anything. However I might have to start some discussions with friends once they have read the book. I find myself scratching my head in confusion.

Another nifty thing about the series is that I have managed to hook 4 people on it after I read them. One of whom has possession of books 1-3 right now and I will have to make sure that she gets book 4 soon. I like that I am building a small army of friends who share my love of these books and might possibly help me storm Orbit to try and get Timeless out earlier than bloody March. MARCH! So rude.

If you haven’t yet read this series, I strongly suggest that you go out and find the first book RIGHT NOW and give it a go. Those who love all things Victorian and paranormal should certainly add the Parasol Protectorate series to their must read list. You will find them most enjoyable!

The Parasol Protectorate

  1. Soulless
  2. Changeless
  3. Blameless
  4. Heartless
  5. Timeless

In My Mailbox #45

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.
All my IMM posts can be found here!

Ok, so I probably shouldn’t have done a video just after waking up when it was already 32C outside and humid and my nose is stuffed up something fierce after spending yesterday outside most of the day for my 6th wedding anniversary… but I did. I sound like I alternate between total space cadet and super snooty snob girl – I promise you I am neither!!

Books mentioned:

Bought from Book Depository UK

  • Hexbound – Chloe Neill
  • Forgotten –  Cat Patrick
  • Blood Magic – Tessa Gratton

Gifted (THANK YOU!!)

  • The Jewel of the Kalderash  – Marie Rutkowski

Bought from Chapigo

  • HEARTLESS!!!!! – Gail Garriger
  • Once Ever Never – Lesley Livingston

Peeps mentioned in le video blog:

Jenny from Wondrous Reads