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”

Comfort Food Books Series

I’ve done a post on my favorite “comfort food” tv shows , so here’s one on my favorite comfort food books series—even if the latter might only be comforting to me. I’ve been battling with my anxiety—the power outages aren’t helping—and again having trouble reading or watching anything. So after I finish my current book—hoping to have the post up in a week or two—I’m diving into Fan Service, a compilation of two of Gail Carriger’s novellas and a short story. After that I’m going to re-binge-read the Finishing School series. Once I’m back into the habit of reading, I hope it’ll come easier. On with the comfort reads!

1—Anything by Gail Carriger

As well as the aforementioned Finishing School Series, Ms. Carriger has penned in the same world several other series (which you can find reviewed on this site), and numerous novellas (which I need to pick up, minus the aforementioned Fan Service ones). I’ve also read and reviewed her SF/Cozy Mystery/Romance book, The 5th Gender. All these book series end happily, as do the individual books (minus a romantic subplot cliffhanger in the second book of the Parasol Protectorate). What’s more, they feature supportive friendships, healthy romances, and downright interesting worlds. Much recommended, especially with a cup of your favorite tea. Continue reading “Comfort Food Books Series”

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”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant

Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Three, by Gail Carriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s third volume is based on the novel Blameless—which is book three of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Mrs. Alexia Maccon nee Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, has been cast out by her husband and pack, by society, and of her job as Muhjuh. She must travel to Italy, home of the Knights Templar, an anti-supernatural extermination order, in order to prove that her child is her husband Conall’s—all the while being hunter by vampires determined to kill her unborn child.

1—Fleeing England

Despite these dire circumstances, Alexia isn’t alone. Her friend and admirer Madame Genevieve Lefoux, a French inventor, and her butler Floote—who knows more about Alexia’s father and the Templars than he lets on—go with her as she flees to first France, then Italy. And there’s a certain white werewolf following them as well. Meanwhile, Alexia’s other supporter, Lord Akeldama, has swarmed out of London after something very important to him has been stolen, something it’s up to Conall to retrieve in one piece—after he sobers up, that is. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Three—In Which Alexia is Pregnant”

Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland

Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume Two, by Gail Garriger and REM

Soulless the Manga’s second volume is based on the novel Changeless—which is book two of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, is now Muhjuh to Queen Victoria and charged with finding out if a spate of mortalness in the local supernatural community is due to a plague or a weapon.

1—The Characters

There’s the depictions of Ivy’s outfits, particularly the hats. I liked getting to see Madame Lefoux in her suits and little Quesnel, scamp that he is. Of course, Sidheag Maccon, Conall’s descendant, complete with facial scar and cigar. We see more of Biffy and Lord Akeldama, and Professor Lyall, too. And I had forgotten how much I dislike Channing Channing of the Chesterfield Channings, but he is fortunately not in much of the book—though my sister likes him. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume Two—Alexia Goes Floating to Scotland”

Soulless the Manga—Volume One—A Condensed but Still Charming Version

Soulless the Manga Volume 1 by Gail Carriger, art by REM book cover
Soulless the Manga Volume 1 by Gail Carriger, art by REM

Soulless the Manga’s first volume is based on the novel Soulless—which is book one of the Parasol Protectorate—by Gail Carriger. The art is by REM. Miss Alexia Tarabotti, the titular Soulless, or Preternatural, has accidentally killed a starving vampire. Things only get more complicated from there in this steampunk action romcom.

1—The Art

The art in the Soulless Manga is suitably whimsical, with even background elements showing thought to the steampunk Victorian setting—such as during Alexia and her best friend Ivy Hisselpenny’s walk in the park. I particularly loved seeing Lord Akeldama’s outfits being brought to picture. And the wax-faced man was suitably creepy. There was a lot of cleavage on display though, mostly Alexia’s. Not that Conall wasn’t naked too. Nothing too scandalous was showing though. Continue reading “Soulless the Manga—Volume One—A Condensed but Still Charming Version”

The Golden Compass (movie)—Beautiful and Complex

The Golden Compass movie poster
The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass is based off the book of the same name. It follows Lyra Belacqua as she seeks the truth behind the Magesterium and the reason they’ve been kidnapping children.

1—World

There’s a lot of world-building going on in this movie. Lyra lives in a world parallel to ours, where people’s souls live outside their bodies in the form of daemons, which take the shapes of animals—animals that can change shape while a person is still a child. There’s the Magisterium, a church who controls most of the world, but not Jordan College—though the college and its free-thinking traditions feel under threat. There’s Dust, about which we sadly get to know little, only that it’s connected to the soul and adulthood. There are the witches, who can fly and whose daemons can travel further from them than humans’s can. And of course, there’s the Golden Compass itself, a machine that can divine the truth of anything and which is a great threat to the Magisterium—Lyra comes into possession of the last one. And there’s so much more. Continue reading “The Golden Compass (movie)—Beautiful and Complex”

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!”