The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Worth the Wait

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee book cover
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, is a YA (young adult) historical gay romance with a happy ending. Told in present tense, first person perspective. Monty, a young English Lord, is about to embark on his Grand Tour with his best friend and secret crush, Percy, a mixed race Peer. Along the way, they’re to drop off Percy’s sister, Felicity, at finishing school (no, not that Finishing School). But when Monty, in a fit of pique, steals something from the Duke of Bourbon, it sets off a chain of events that will see the party beset by highwaymen, pirates, and alchemists.

1—Romance!

Monty and Percy have always been close but these last few years have seen Monty fall in love with Percy. Monty is a rake extraordinaire, flirting with and often bedding any young woman or man who takes his fancy. But with Percy it’s different. With Percy it’s love. Of course, Monty’s last affair with love saw him thrown out of school and beaten bloody by his father when it became known that his love was another boy. But Percy is worth the risk—if only Percy will realize Monty’s feelings are more than a fling. Continue reading “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Worth the Wait”

Meat Cute AKA The Hedgehog Incident—Definitely Cute, but Not for Newbies

Meat Cute by Gail Carriger book cover
Meat Cute by Gail Carriger

Meat Cute, a short story by Gail Carriger, is the story of how Miss Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon meet. If those names mean nothing to you, that’s ok, this story is really for the fans of the Parasolverse.

Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, which is, as of this writing, the only version of Meat Cute in print, but it’s available in ebook and audio book.

1—Couples

Basically, Sophronia and Soap set up Alexia and Connal to meet. Takes place just before Soulless. There’s other Easter eggs in the story, if you’ve read ALL the Parasolverse stories, but even if you’ve only read the novels, or just the Finishing School series or just the Parasol Protectorate, you should like this short story. If you have not read either of those, maybe wait until you have to read Meat Cute. But yeah, I adored this little gem.

Romancing the Inventor—Unexpected Chances

Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger book cover
Romancing the Inventor by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Inventor, a novella by Gail Carriger, follows Imogene, a maid at a vampire hive, as she falls in love with a heartbroken lady inventor.

Heat level, open door on the sex scenes but not terribly graphic.

Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Inventor is available as a stand-alone.

1—Loneliness

Everyone thinks Imogene arrogant because she won’t take a husband, but the truth is that no man appeals to her. She secretly pines for women, a thing illegal in Victorian England. So Imogene takes a job as a maid with the local vampire hive, hoping the countess might take an interest in her—supernaturals are exceptions to the law—but the countess, indeed all the vampires, ignore her. Continue reading “Romancing the Inventor—Unexpected Chances”

Romancing the Werewolf—Sweet, Fluffy, and Mildly Angsty

Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger book cover
Romancing the Werewolf by Gail Carriger

Romancing the Werewolf, a novella in the Parasolverse by Gail Carriger, follows the reunion of Biffy—newly minted Alpha of his werewolf pack—and Lyall—who’s been pack Beta for hundreds of years. This is a full-on romance, with a tiny bit of a mystery—who’s leaving infants on the doorstep pack’s new home and why? But mostly it’s Biffy and Lyall navigating their ways to their new relationship.

Note: no explicit sex scenes in this one, that stuff is under the author’s G. L. Carriger name.

Also note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Werewolf is available as a stand-alone.

1—A Love Both Old and New

When Lyall returns from twenty years’s service to another pack, so much has changed that now neither he nor Biffy is certain the other still wants him, and neither wants to take advantage of the other. They were lovers once, but under very different circumstances. On BIffy’s part, he’s not certain his new position as leader wouldn’t constitute a breach of ethics. On Lyall’s part, he doesn’t want to complicate Biffy’s life since Biffy is still learning to be a leader. It’s totally in character for both of them, and each’s worries and not wanting to impose on the other feels natural, rather than something contrived keeping them apart at the beginning. And since this is a novella, it’s not too long before they get together. Continue reading “Romancing the Werewolf—Sweet, Fluffy, and Mildly Angsty”

The Prince and the Dressmaker—Sweet and Beautiful

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang book cover
The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker, by Jen Wang, is a graphic novel about Prince Sebastian and his dressmaker, a girl named Frances. Together they take the Paris fashion world by storm, with Sebastian secretly going out as Lady Crystallia in the dresses Frances designs. But Sebastian’s secret life is beginning to wear on both Sebastian and Frances, who has her own dreams of becoming a famous designer.

1—A New Job

Frances fulfills a a difficult order for a difficult client attending a ball held for the prince. Frances designs a stunning dress—as in, it stuns the girl’s mother and all of polite society—and gets reamed by her employer for it. But someone at the ball loved the dress and send sends their trusted servant to hire Frances, which she accepts, not knowing who’s hiring her only that it’s got to be better than working for her old boss. Introductions are not what Frances expects, what with her new client covering their face. But due to a bit of clumsiness, Frances’s new employer is revealed to be Prince Sebastian. Frances accepts Sebastian for who he is and and he encourages her art. The two quickly become friends. Continue reading “The Prince and the Dressmaker—Sweet and Beautiful”

Reticence—Percy In Love

Reticence by Gail Carriger book cover
Reticence by Gail Carriger

Reticence is the last in the Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger. A supernatural Steampunk romantic romp about the world, told with all the wit and humor characteristic of Ms. Carriger’s works. The Spotted Custard has hired a lady doctor, in light of all the scuffles the crew gets into, and in light of its lady captain’s delicate condition. Said doctor, a young woman named Arsenic, immediately catches the attention of Percy, the airship’s navigator and resident curmudgeon. Of course, before Percy can figure out how to flirt, the ship is immediately off on another adventure.

1—Adventure!

Percy hates adventure and yet, as a member of the crew of the Spotted Custard, finds himself frequently a party to them. First there’s captain and friend Rue’s wedding to inventor and engineer—and Percy’s intellectual rival—Quesnel. Then off to Egypt to visit Rue’s mother and paw (her other father, Lord Akeldama, walked her down the aisle but due to various complicated reason, Rue’s two other parents couldn’t be there in person), where Rue’s mother has an assignment for them—find out what’s up with the fox-shifters in Japan. So off to the floating Paper City of Edo it is. Continue reading “Reticence—Percy In Love”

The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars

The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger book cover
The 5th Gender by G. L. Carriger

The 5th Gender, by G. L. Carriger (the pen name Gail Carriger writes under when she does spicy stuff), is a wonderful romance-cozy-mystery-scifi story. The lavender Galoi alien Tristol Zyga and the human security officer Detective Drey Hastion are just starting their courtship when a Galoi spaceship contacts the space station with an odd request—the Galoi, who have no word for murder, have a non-accidental death on board and need of a detective. It’s up to Detective Hastion and Tris—who, as an exile, no longer exists to his people—to find out what happened.

Also, for those of delicate sensibilities, there’s a lot of sex in this book, fully described, male on male.

1—Wonderful Worldbuilding

We get alternating points of view from Tris and Drey, and each’s observations on the other and and how they interact with the people and space station around them forms the basis of some excellent worldbuilding. I love Tris’s take on human customs and idioms. And Drey is always willing to answer Tris’s questions and explain things, as well as ask questions of his own. Between the two of them, we learn a lot about Galoi and humans both. In particular, the Galoi’s five genders and anatomy were interesting to learn about. Continue reading “The 5th Gender—Love and Death Among the Stars”

Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships

 

Monster-in-law starts off as a RomCom, complete with a series of meet-cutes. Then we meet the male love interest’s mother, and she and the female love interest hit it off—emphasis on “hit”.

1—Gaslighting, Poisoning, and Physical Abuse

All of which are played for humor, and rather successfully—though the nut-allergy thing isn’t funny, given how severe a problem they are in real life. Viola, the monster mother-in-law, starts by trying to drive Charlie, the prospective bride and daughter-in-law, crazy by moving in with her and acting crazy herself. When Charlie catches on, the war really begins, each woman trying to drive off the other without letting Kevin, the son/prospective groom, in on things. Continue reading “Monster-in-Law—A Comedy of Relationships”

Soulless—Illustrated Hardcover Edition—Squee!

Soulless by Gail Carriger, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall book cover
Soulless by Gail Carriger, illustrated by Jensine Eckwall

Soulless, by Gail Carriger and this version illustrated by Jensine Eckwall, is titled after the preternatural Miss Alexia Tarabotti, whose touch renders supernatural vampires and werewolves mortal. The book, told in omniscient point of view, mainly follows Alexia as she flirts with an alpha werewolf, visits with a rove vampire, and gets kidnapped by mad scientists.

I know I’ve talked about the Parasol Protectorate series before, but not this individual book, and the issue of the illustrated hardback seemed the perfect time for a reread and a review.

1—The Illustrations

The illustrations in Soulless were charming. Done in a pen-and-ink style, they are intricately detailed. Scattered throughout the book, there are ten full-page illustrations that include a werewolf in wolf form carrying a coat, a walk through the park with dirigible floating overhead, Lord Akeldama holding his tuning fork-anti-eavesdropping device, and of course the first scene in the book with Alexia hitting a vampire with her parasol. There are other key moments illustrated, but I won’t tell about them since that would give some important plot points away. Continue reading “Soulless—Illustrated Hardcover Edition—Squee!”

Mamma Mia!—Strange and Silly

Mamma Mia! movie poster
Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia! is a musical romantic comedy utilizing the songs of ABBA. It follows Sophie as she tries to discover which of three men is her father so that one of them can give her away at her wedding.

1—The Plot

The plot is a little convoluted. After finding her mother’s diary from the summer during which she was conceived, Sophie invites all her potential fathers—Sam, Harry, and Bill—to her wedding without informing her mother Donna. When the men coincidentally arrive at Kalokairi together, Sophie must explain to them that they weren’t in fact invited by Donna, and also can’t tell her that Sophie invited them to the island. Donna’s two best friends also arrive on the island. From there…it gets hard to explain. There are further misunderstandings and secrets kept, and love affairs, and it’s all set to music. Continue reading “Mamma Mia!—Strange and Silly”