June 20th, 2011


Heartless by Gail Carriger

Heartless by Gail Carriger

B&N Synopsis

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?

Oh my! Where to begin? There are too many wonderful things in this book to cover them all and do so without giving away any major plot points or spoilers!

First of all, let’s begin with the absolutely lovely change in tenor in Connall and Alexia’s relationship. In the past, they’ve relied heavily on barbed comments and physical affection to communicate their love for one another. In book four, we finally see them learning to communicate through words. I’m so happy to see this evolution in their relationship. While the humor of their earlier exchanges was fun to witness, this new aspect of their relationship is far more realistic and more enjoyable for the reader . They are now truly believable as a couple. It’s nice to see Connall’s affectionate and gentle side when it comes to tending to his wife.

As always, Carriger is a master at juggling the several relationships she’s established throughout the series. There were a few heart wrenching moments for poor Biffy as he struggles to adapt to his new life in the Woolsey Pack. But again, Lord Maccon’s newfound softer side comes in to play here, which is quite sweet.

I was so pleased to learn more about Professor Lyall. I had always wondered certain things about him, and Ms. Carriger does not disappoint in providing him a suitable and complex background.

Madam Lefoux gets considerable page time, but that being said, I felt like she was here and there and then gone again without really contributing much substance to the story in the earlier pages. However, that might have been exactly how Ms. Carriger wanted it. The inventor’s flighty appearances and distracted demeanor are a direct result of something that occurs later in the book. So her harried appearances are quite believable when you get the pay off at the end.


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I can’t wait to see how everything is tied up in “Timeless.” There are still a few loose threads to be taken care of, and I do hope a few of my favorite characters find their happily ever afters.

Finally, although I know the “Timeless” is already finished, I’d like to make one request of Ms. Carriger: If at all possible, would you please go back and add a scene where Felicity takes a long drop off a dirigible somewhere over the Thames, please? She’s such a little ninny!

Books completed 20/40

Dead Dog Cat

#44, 45

While I was away, I finished reading two books.

First, I got from the library, and it was The Chinaman by Friedrich Glauser, another of these "Swiss" mysteries. Somehow, though the mystery is intricate enough, it just doesn't make me feel like I was in Switzerland, for all that he tries to set the scene.

Second was Cult Vegas: The Weirdest! The Wildest! The Swingin'est Town on Earth! by Mike Weatherford. It gives some of the history of the Strip, and to a lesser extent the downtown district, mostly through tales of the entertainers: comedians, singers and other show folk. There's some items of mild interest, especially of the early history, but only a few. I'm happy that I got this at discount, but I don't plan to keep the book.

Toothless, by J.P. Moore

Toothless, by J.P. Moore.

The book's cover is a bit big, so I'll link it. That's Toothless who, as you can see, lives up to his name. He's also a zombie, though I'd use that label unwillingly and only for lack of a better term. Take everything you know about zombies and toss it out the window. Ha ha! Now when the zombies attack you'll be unprepared! He was dead, he's now "alive". That's all he shares with zombies.

The world the book takes place in is an interesting mix of RL things. Druids, Templar knights/the Crusades, a small helping of supernatural stuff (can I say 'small helping' when the book is about zombies?). Plus some really nice spiritual stuff.

My timing was bad for reading the book's ending. I finished it right before leaving for work this morning. I would have totally cried over it, except I couldn't because I had to go to work! So I did that thing where you read a couple words, then look away and think of other things, then read a few more... (If you read the ebook version, the percent count is off! I was at 99%, so I hadn't expected that I reached the ending. There is no 100%!)

Need further recommendation? This is one of those books where I didn't want to keep reading because I didn't want it to end. How messed up is that! I loved it, I wanted to read it all NOW NOW NOW, but I had to go slow so it wouldn't be gone and finished forever.

The Amazon link is Toothless, by J.P. Moore. The Toothless page on his website is here. He has a podcast of the entire book up, so you can get a preview if you want. (Or listen to the whole thing. He has a really nice voice! Then buy the book to support the writer!) The ebook is really cheap through Amazon ($4.99), so hey, great book, discount price! Highly recommended.

Funny Carnage in Between Marked Shades; Blood Canto

Ultimate Spider-Man, vol. 11: Carnage, by Brian Michael Bendis et al
OMG, spoiler spoiler in-retrospect-totally-predictable spoiler!!! (As you could probably tell, I'm still enjooying these.)
(91/200; 56/100)

It's Kind of a Funny Story, by Ned Vizzini
The first half of this book, when the teenage protagonist is struggling and failing to overcome his depression, was hard to read and I put the book down a lot. Once he checked himself in to the psychiatric ward that's at the heart of the story, though, the story was both compelling and hilarious. Couch-poundingly so.

The Places in Between, by Rory Stewart
One of those gonzo "you did WHAT?" adventures - Rory Stewart is a Scotsman who walked very long distances in India and the Middle East, mostly alone. This piece is about his walk through mountainous parts Afghanistan in early 2002, and the people he met there. I'll be reading his other book, Prince of the Marshes - and I am amused to learn he became a provincial governor in Iraq.

River Marked, by Patricia Briggs
Still digging this series, although the author took the main character and her love interest mostly away from the supporting cast and I missed the supporting cast! Oh, ensemble books, why must you deprive me of my ensemble?

Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys
This book was heartbreaking, lovely, infuriating, and inspiring. I wouldn't have tried it on my own, because boy did I not think I was in the mood to read a YA novel about Siberian labor camps, but it was pressed on me by a friend, and I'm glad for it. The characters were very richly drawn.

Crying Blood, by Donis Casey
It's weird to think of "cozy" mysteries being set in turn-of-the-last-century still-kinda-frontierlike Oklahoma, but I think cozies is what this series has settled into being. But smart, thoughtful, ones. And I'm enough of a geek that I *love* all the historical details.

Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett
I don't like reading about trapped people, hostages or otherwise, so I'd put off reading this for a long time. And it did make me cry. But the prose is so lovely I could barely stand to put the book down, and the characters felt like so much like real people. An intimate and wide-ranging book.
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