Spooky Reading Suggestions

It’s October! In the spirit (ba-dum-chhh) of this month, I thought I’d compile a list of spooky book suggestions. Some of these books are ones I’ve read and enjoyed, others are on my own TBR list.

For younger audiences:

  • Any Goosebumps book. These books were staple for me growing up!
  • The Thief of Always by Clive Barker. This book was the first I read by Clive Barker when I was in Junior High School. It instantly sealed Barker as one of my favorite authors!

Young Adult and beyond:

  • The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux. Yes, the musical was based on a book, and the book is amazing! It delves deeper into the past and psyche of the titular Phantom and the games he plays.
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. A classic, and regarded to be the very first science fiction story ever published!
  • Anything by Edgar Allan Poe. That should be self-explanatory 😉 I specifically enjoyed “The Fall of the House of Usher”, “The Masque of the Red Death”, and, of course, “The Raven”.
  • The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker. While Clive Barker is one of my favorite authors, I still haven’t read what is arguably his most famous book, on which the movie Hellraiser was based. It’s high-up on my TBR!
  • The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger. This is a great choice if you want some spook/supernatural elements, but aren’t interested in horror. These books are light-hearted and funny!

Feel free to leave your own suggestions in the comments, or to talk about what you’re reading this month!

Book Review: Poison or Protect by Gail Carriger

Last week, I participated in the #SteampunkReadathon hosted by Whole Latte Books. For this readathon, I chose Gail Carriger’s novella, Poison or Protect.

This novella is a snarky romance following a character from Carriger’s Finishing School series, Preshea Villentia neé Buss. It takes place several years after that series, when Preshea is an adult. She is hired by the Duke of Snodgrove, via their mutual acquaintance Lord Akeldama, to stop his daughter from marrying her current suitor, Mr. Jackson. Preshea, an assassin-for-hire, is cynical about this task, as it doesn’t fit her usual business. When the Duke leaves, Lord Akeldama explains that the Duke’s life is being threatened, and Preshea’s other task is to protect him.

The Duke throws a house party (which apparently, in Victorian times, is something that went on for over a week). En route to his house, Preshea meets Mr. Jackson (aka Jack) along with his friend, Captain Gavin Ruthven. Preshea and Gavin are instantly interested in each other, though they worry they’re on different sides where the Duke’s life is concerned (it turns out, however, they were both hired to protect the Duke).

Lots of witty banter and shenanigans ensue as the romance between Preshea and Gavin unfolds. This is a good time to mention that there are explicit (100% consensual) sex scenes in this novella.

I really enjoyed this novella. I’m not usually one for romance, but this story was filled with enough other plot (an attempt on the Duke’s life, shenanigans involving other guests of the house party) that it kept me interested and gave the romance plot more depth. As always, Carriger’s characters are charming and funny, as well as sincere and relatable. The romance is a very positive one, with an emphasis on mutual respect and consent.

As I mentioned, the story takes place in the same universe as the Finishing School Series (which is the same universe as the Parasol Protectorate, The Custard Protocol, and a few others of Carriger’s stories). I would recommend having read at least one of those before diving into this novella, if only to have prior knowledge to how this supernatural steampunk world works. While they aren’t very prominent in this novella, this world is one in which vampires, werewolves, and ghosts exist in (relative) harmony with humans. The hows and whys of this are better explained in Carriger’s other stories.

Overall, I gave this novella a 4 out of 5.

Steampunk Readathon

The blog Whole Latte Books is hosting a Steampunk Readathon starting tomorrow (September 10th), which is absolutely amazing!

The Readathon will take place online, using the hashtag #SteampunkReadathon. It begins Sept 10, 2016 at midnight and ends Sept 16, 2016 at 11:59 PM. You can sign up between now and anytime during the readathon here. Read as little or as many books as you want. Read just one and still participate! Books started before the readathon will not count. No cheating! Books must be from the steampunk genre or related genres including dieselpunk, biopunk, and so on. For a full list of related genres see here. Books may be fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, art books, or children’s books.

Whole Latte Books has some great suggestions on their page. Of course, I would highly recommend my own steampunk novel, Grigory’s Gadget (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more, say no more). If you’ve already read that, here are some of my favorites, as well as books on my own to-read shelf:

  • The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger
  • Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones
  • The Time Machine by H.G. Wells
  • His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
  • The Clockwork Century series by Cherie Priest
  • The Yellow Hoods series by Adam Dreece
  • The Great Abraham Lincoln Pocket Watch Conspiracy by Jacopo della Quercia

I personally will be reading Gail Carriger’s new novella, Poison or Protect. See you on Twitter!

Steampunk Hands Around the World 2016 – My Favorite Things: Gail Carriger’s Novels

Welcome to my fourth and final contribution to Steampunk Hands Around the World 2016 – My Favorite Things! If you’re not familiar, Steampunk Hands is a month-long blogathon in February when steampunks from all over the world come together to talk about the genre. This year’s theme is My Favorite Things. CLICK HERE for the master list of all the blog posts!

For my fourth Favorite Thing, I’d like to talk about Gail Carriger’s novels. Gail Carriger currently has three steampunk series: The Finishing School Series, The Parasol Protectorate Series, and The Custard Protocol Series. All three series take place in the same universe, an alternate Victorian era (primarily in London, England) where humans, vampires, werewolves, and ghosts live together in (somewhat relative) harmony. She also has some short stories, which I believe also take place in the same universe.

So far, I’ve read all of the Parasol Protectorate books. I plowed through those novels! Every character is charming and funny in their own amazing way, and after reading A Song of Ice and Fire (the books that are currently published, anyway) by George R.R. Martin, it was a real relief to read this upbeat and witty series. The main plot of each book was a bit predictable in my opinion, but I didn’t mind at all. It felt more like the plot enabled the characters to interact in increasingly interesting ways, and that was the point. I also might be harping too much on a book with a more predictable plot since I had, as I mentioned above, just finished reading A Song of Ice and Fire.

The Finishing School Series (which takes place before The Parasol Protectorate) and The Custard Protocol Series (which takes place after The Parasol Protectorate) are both on my To-Read list now.