Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Halloween - and have we got a treat for you!

In honor of it being Halloween, we're giving  you our salute to the holiday with some sexy men in costume - some with more costume than others! Hope you enjoy them all, and happy Halloween to you all!

Calling Doctor Love! The perfect treatment for any ailment! He wants to check you out!

Ready to go clubbing? This go-go boy wants to shake his thing - just for you!

It might be a little early for Thanksgiving, but we invited our Native American friend to feast with us! Make him feel welcome, will you? And tell him that the loin cloth is purely optional!

Shades of 300! This Spartan warrior's away from home, just looking for a good time. Anyone want to help him out?

This guy brings a whole new level of meaning to Fantasy Island! Shades of Ricardo Montalban!  Da plane, da plane! This guy says he's ready to make your fantasy come true!

In the Navy, we can sail the seven seas!  Well, double your pleasure, double your... fill in the blanks yourself with this sailors delight!

I'm not sure what his costume was, since I caught him in the midst of taking it off, but I'm not complaining!

Hope you like them, Happy Halloween and take care, til next time!

♥ Julie and Sui

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sci Fi Sunday - Leviathan Review

According to the bard, "Some men are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust  upon them". Young Alek is one of the latter.  Although born to a royal lineage, his claim to the throne is disreputed because of the lowborn status of his mother.  Which means nothing in the scheme of things, life simply going on as it invariably does,  until his parents are unexpectedly assassinated when they travel to Sarajevo, all hell breaks loose and nothing can ever be the same again, as he finds himself the object of an intense manhunt by the Germans and Austrians both, and all that he now possesses is one Stormwalker and a loyal crew of men between himelf and  certain death - and his own strength and intelligence!  Having been awakened in the middle of the night by his fencing master and his master of mechaniks on the pretext of a training mission, he is now in a deadly race to the Swiss border and the freedom of that country's neutrality in the face of impending war - a war which will change not only the shape of Europe but the whole world forever, a war of global proportions and magnitude never seen before.  Meanwhile, a young British girl named Deryn Sharp has disguised herself as a boy named Dylan in order to enter the British Air Service, finding herself upon the whale airship Leviathan, the most magnificent beast in the entire fleet, engaged upon a secret mission to the Ottoman Empire.  And thus we enter the world of Scott Westerfeld's Leviathan.


When Deryn begins her quest to enter the royal air service, she only wishes to serve as best she can, to be as useful as any lad, and not forced into what she considers to be the lame world of women, with their skirts and their cooking and their,  to her,  inability to do anything exciting.  Assisted by her older brother Jaspert, who is himself a member of said service, and who helps her to train toward her goal, she becomes a recruit and now must pass the midshipman's test, which is being given at the airship field at Wormwood Scrubs.  Her brother hints that the recruits will be tested on a sense of "air sense", but Deryn puts that down to his trying to rattle her cage, when lo and behold they find themselves shown an actual Huxley ascender - a tentacled creature, the first fabricated creature designed, a far cry from the modern giant living airships of the day, with their gondolas, engines and observation decks.  The Huxley, also known as a medusa, is formed from the life-chains of jellyfish and other venomous sea creatures, and is not an easy beastie to deal with.  When Deryn sees the pilot's rig which hangs beneath it, she has an idea what is going to happen, and when the Flight Captain thins their ranks of the Monkey Luddites - who wish nothing to do with the beast - and seeks a volunteer to be first to take the ride with the Huxley, Deryn does not hesitate to step up!  And what a glorious experience it is, until she is aloft and spots a storm coming their way which those on the ground cannot see, and she finds herself and the Huxley in a perilous situation, which only her quick wits and natural abilities prevent from becoming tragic!  In the course of her adventure, she is blown far off course, over the English Channel itself, and ends up being rescued by none other than the Leviathan!  She thinks she is dreaming when not only does she become Midshipman Dylan Sharp, but is assigned to duty on the very vessel which rescued her!

Meanwhile, Alek is finding it difficult to come to grips with the swiftly drastic changes that have occurred in his life, beginning with his parents' deaths, and his leaving his home in the middle of the night,  and even briefly wonders if he is being kidnapped for some reason.  When he first espies the six-legged majesty of the machine that is S.M.S. Beowulf, his first thought is that they have been searching for him, in order to effect his rescue, an idea which is quickly dispelled when they open fire upon Alek and his stormwalker, and he and his people are forced to flee for their lives!  Luckily, Count Volger is a resourceful man and has had an escape plan in place for a very long time.  When Alek asks, he confesses that he began planning it when Archduke Ferdinand married Sophie, a commoner, as they hole up in a ruin of a castle high in the Alps. In the meantime, Deryn is learning the ropes as a midshipman on the Leviathan, and their current mission has begun with the unthinkable - they have landed the huge ship in the middle of Regent's Park to pick up a boffin and her mysterious cargo, and are to take her to the Ottoman Empire for reasons unknown!  Because of the weight of this cargo, all but two of the middies are let go, and Alek ends up as almost a personal attendant for the boffin, Dr. Barlow,  who turns out to be a woman!  The woman is too sharp, by far, and Deryn fears for a moment that her secret is revealed, but she finds herself safe for the moment - just as German aeroplanes hove into view, and force the Leviathan into a snow mountain landing!  From his protected fortress, Alek espies the crash, and wishes to  help, but Volger refuses to allow him to do so, fearing for his safety.  A stubborn Alek slips out in the middle of night, taking first aid kits with him, in case they are needed - or is it just a curiousity to see what has happened?  As he nears the wreck of the strange beast/airship, he discovers the half frozen body of a young boy - none other than Deryn Sharp!  And in assisting Deryn, he finds himself a captive of the Darwinists, the avowed enemy of the Clankers!


Steampunk is a genre which contains elements of fantasy and sci-fi along with speculative fiction, and is generally set in an era where steam power is predominant, such as the Victorian era, and  often involves inventions being put into place before their true time, such as those found in the fertile imagiinations of HG Wells and Jules Verne,  or alternative realities where history has taken a different path.  It came to some prominence in the 1980's and 90's,  and enjoys a secure niche in the loyalty of its readers even today, and has even made the transition to the big screen in such films as The Wild Wild West and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  Leviathan is set just on the cusp of World War I, and draws on actual events and people, interweaving them cleverly with the author's own imagination.  The British Darwinists have discovered the `life chains which make up all life, and have learned to combine the best of various species into entirely new creatures.  For example, the Leviathan itself is a symbiotic system which involves not only the whale but a host of other animals.  The bats, which feed on insects and fruit and  metal flechettes, are used as weapons, excreting the flechettes onto the enemy.  And bees have been bred which do not sting!  It is a natural system, as opposed to the world of the German and Austrian Clankers, which involves steam engine machinery and hydraulics.  The two words are clearly at odds with one another, so it is no wonder that a global conflagration is in the works.  And, as usually is the case, each sides believes their way to be right, while the other is totally wrong.  But when the two forces meet via the Leviathan, forced to become allies in the face of the common enemy that seeks to destroy them both, then there are indeed lessons to be learned, lessons in cooperation, and friendship and compromise.  By the end of the book, Deryn's secret identity is intact, but how long can that last when she had begun to have strange feelings about Alek?  What is she to do with those?  And how long will Dr. Barlow be clueless as to her actual gender?  And what is so important about the cargo that Dr. Barlow carries, that she is taking it to people who are professed Clankers?  Leviathan is categorized as teen fiction, but I think it possesses the same sort of universal appeal that the  Harry Potter  series does, and no one should be discouraged from reading it for that reason.  Teen Fiction is not what it once was, it has certainly grown, welcoming many excellent writers into its fold,  and certainly shouldn't be overlooked.  Scott Westerveld draws us into his characters' stories from the very beginning, and the skillful way he makes use of history is fascinating, bringing it very much to life.  After all, the things we do today are what the students of tomorrow will learn as history, and those who think it is a dead subject are sadly misinformed!   And lest I forget, the book is richly illustrated by Keith Thompson - his drawings take  my breath away, as he so wonderfully portrays the world which Scott Westervelt writes about!   I look forward to further installments of this series!

I wholeheartedly give Leviathan ★★★★★

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sci fi Sunday - Gail Carriger's Heartless

 Hello and happy Sci Fi Sunday! Today, I want to complete the reviews of the Parasol Protectorate with my own review of Heartless, the fourth book in the series. The fifth book, Timeless, releases in February of 2012, and trust me, I shall review it then.

Heartless (Parasol Protectorate #4)  
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit Books
American release date: July 1, 2011
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Paranormal Steampunk/374 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: NR/Suitable for teens and up
Overall Personal Rating : ☆☆☆☆☆

It seems that Alexia’s unexpected (and hitherto considered impossible) pregnancy has thrown the supernatural world into something of a tizzy (now that her husband has removed his head from his nether regions long enough to realize that the child is indeed his and none other’s). But it seems they have a plan. Lord Maccon, Lord Akeldama, and Professor Lyall, that is. They’ve been hatching their idea for five months, and have decided that now’s a good time to let Alexia in on their little scheme. (Nice of them, considering it’s her child they’re talking about). In light of the fact that Alexia has become the target of numerous annoying and inconvenient assassination attempts, she must give the child up. To Lord Akeldama;s care.



Not surprisingly (except in the minds of the three gentlemen in question), Alexia does not fall in with their plan with handclapping and enthusiastic cheers. Rather, she’s totally against it. What mother would wish such a thing, to give up her child from birth? Really, gentlemen, be serious! But, with time to think, she, as always, has a better plan, one that will have the same result and not get her thrown out of her child’s life at one and the same time.

Alexia’s idea is to relocate herself and her husband into the townhouse next to Lord Akeldama’s, and to have a secret access to his home whereby they actually will live in his home, near their child, but for appearance’s sake, their address will be next door. Simple, eh? The hive’s fear centers around the child and what he or she may be capable of—namely their destruction. They feel that if said child were to be under Lord A’s tutelage, said crisis could be averted. However, just because a decision is reached doesn’t mean everyone has gotten the memo, and for now the attacks continue. Including one involving zombie hedgehogs.

Nothing in Alexia’s life is ever easy. Young Biffy, formerly one of Lord Akeldama’s drones (and the love of his life), now part of the Woolsey pack, is not adapting to his new condition well, and causes a great deal of trouble around the time of the full moon. Alexia’s sister, Felicity Loontwill, has taken it into her head to espouse women’s suffrage, and decides now, of all times, that she must be independent and free—while living with and dependent upon her sister. Madame Lefoux seems troubled to Alexia, but she isn’t sure why and the inventor isn’t confiding. Perhaps it is because her beloved aunt, Formerly Lefoux, the ghost, is about to end all existence at any time. But what is that derby-shaped contraption in Genevieve’s basement all about?

Then there is the ghost who shows up unexpectedly with a message for Alexia, warning of danger to the queen. Just when Alexia is in need of her wits the most, she finds that her advanced pregnancy has addled them, not to mention her increased bulk makes getting about fairly difficult at times. Especially when under fire. But that doesn’t keep her from impersonating a cook in search of unemployment, as she and Floote scuttle about the neighborhood, searching for clues.

Can anything else possibly go wrong in Alexia’s life?

Of course it can…


The fourth volume in the Parasol Protectorate series is every bit as engaging as its predecessors, filled with the wit, the action, the suspense and the manners which we’ve come to expect from Gail Carriger. I have to say that as a mother, the solution which the gentlemen proposed at the beginning of the book set my teeth on edge. I understand why Alexia compromised as she did, but I would never be happy with such an arrangement, and I’d fight tooth and nail to keep my child. That being said, I have hopes that something will happen in the final volume to allow the family a normal life. That’s a relative term, by the way, as we are talking about a preternatural and a werewolf here, and who knows what the child will be?

My next consideration of ponderance is why on earth Biffy and Lord Akeldama can’t still be together, even if they are different species? Alexia and Conall manage quite well. It’s a matter of the heart, and if they work at it, I don’t see why it can’t be done. Perhaps the answer will lie in the next book.

Gail Carriger has drawn her characters superbly. Each and everyone pops out at you distinctly; there’s no mistaking one for another. Even the annoying ones, such as Felicity (whom I wish to beat down on a regular basis). At least we are spared the presence of Alexia’s insipid Mama and the rest of her mindless brood. Please let that last!

Carriger has given new meaning and depth to the steampunk genre, combining it with paranormal romance and coming up with one whale of a tale. Alexia Tarabotti Maccon is one of the best heroines ever. Were I ever to find myself in a fight, I’d definitely want her on my side. And her hubby certainly gives new meaning to the phrase sexy beast!

I read somewhere that there’s been a bit of dissension regarding the novel’s cover. I must say that I quite like the colors, and think they are rather fitting. I also like the backdrop of Woolsey.

I highly recommend this series to everyone. I’m greatly looking forward to the next volume; I’m sorry that it will be the last. However, take heart. Another series is about to begin—The Finishing School. I’m sure it shall be great fun too! Rest assured, I shall review that as well.

Join us next week for another episode of Sci Fi Sunday! Don't forget to check out Sui's blog, 2 Cents, and my blog, Full Moon Dreaming!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie and Sui

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sci fi Sunday - Gail Carriger's Blameless

Happy Sci Fi Sunday! Continuing with our steampunk theme, I offer you my daughter Sarah's review of Gail Carriger's Blameless, the third book in the Parasol Protectorate Series. Enjoy!

Blameless: Parasol Protectorate book 3   
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit Books
American release date: September 1st 2010
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Fantasy/374 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Older Teen
Overall Personal Rating: A
Similar series/titles to check out: the Sookie Stackhouse series; Kieli; Last Exile

Alexia Tarabotti thinks her life is hard enough living as a preternatural socialite in steampunk Victorian England - but when her werewolf husband kicks her out of their home, she loses her position in the Shadow Council, and there are evil mechanical ladybugs trying to kill her, things go from bad to unbearable. There's only one option left to Alexia if she wants to stay alive - road trip to Italy, anyone?


After finding herself in a most delicate condition—something that should be impossible given that Lord Maccon's supernatural state disallows breeding of any type—Lady Alexia Maccon-Tarabotti now finds herself kicked out of Scotland and her husband's familial home and back into the not-so-loving arms of her own family, who have no qualms about letting Alexia know how they feel about having such a scandalized individual under their roof. Angry at Lord Maccon and now unceremoniously cut off from the protection of both the clan and the Shadow Council due to a curt dismissal from the Queen herself, Alexia turns to the usually comforting presence of her vampire best friend Lord Akeldama—only to find the man missing, leaving behind only a vague message about looking after his cat. When a mini-plague of mechanical ladybugs, along with practically all the vampires in London, force Alexia to protect herself in a most unladylike fashion, England starts looking less and less safe for a pregnant preternatural. With her father's faithful butler Floote and the French inventor Madame Lefoux at her side, Alexia embarks on a road trip of steampunk proportions with the final destination being Italy: an ultra-religious country openly hostile towards supernatural beings and filled with Templars and delicious pesto galore. Who would ever guess such a place would be the best sanctuary for Alexia Maccon to seek answers about her preternatural state? But even the very orange landscape of Florence conceals some of the greatest dangers that Alexia has ever faced.

As Alexia and her jolly 'parasol protectorate' find themselves getting deeper into a whole mess of mysteries in Italy, back in London the arrogant and heartbroken Lord Maccon has decided to treat his state of mind by getting thoroughly hammered, much to the chagrin of his beta, Professor Lyall, who is forced to hold together the Woolsey werewolf pack in his elective absence - which means handling everything from challenges from lone wolves to dealing with the pressure of an irate Shadow Council. But when the Woolsey pack find itself being pulled into the inner political business of vampires, mainly the disappearance of Lord Akeldama, Lord Maccon will have to sober up quick if he wants to help find his wife's good friend as well as get back into his beloved's good graces (if Alexia will still have him). That is, if Maccon can stop acting like an arrogant buffoon long enough to realize the worst kind of truth there is: that he was totally and utterly wrong.


Do you like fantasy books in alternative Victorian England where the technology and fashion of steampunk is part of everyday life? Do you like your werewolves and vampires and other supernatural things to wear fancy dress and follow the old fashioned rules of etiquette, usually to humorous effect? Do you like reading about a well-read half-Italian woman who isn't afraid to speak her mind and wields a parasol like a weapon (because it is)? And . . . you're not reading the Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger, now at three books and ongoing? For shame! Right now, there hasn't been a better time to jump into this excellent series, especially since the third book kicks off so many plots and subplots that will continue the story through several more volumes - all of them wickedly interesting and sure to make great reads in the next year. Plus, more Alexia Tarabotti! And that can never be a bad thing.

In the third book of the series chronicling Alexia's adventures in both the abnormal and the mundane, Blameless, she finds herself in a bigger pickle than ever before: her husband has deserted her; there's an impossible baby on the way; she has to live with her odious family yet again; her vampire BFF has gone AWOL with no clear reason why; it seems like everyone is pretty much out to kill her - including, of all things, mechanical ladybugs with very dangerous antennae. As usual, the amount of paranormal nonsense Alexia must go through on a daily basis is always strange and vastly interesting - as well as the fact that Alexia is less scandalized by these things happening to her as much as the fact that protecting herself from them means ruining all her best skirts and gowns in the process. In this volume, however, she has one more thing to worry about - she's pregnant. Her conversations with the 'infant-inconvenience' growing in her body are terribly amusing, and it makes one wonder what kind of mother Alexia will make if/when the child is born - or for that matter, what kind of father Lord Maccon might be.

Another new thing in Blameless is the new attention on Lady Tarabotti's preternatural soulless state, now more curious than ever seeing that she's with child by a werewolf, and such a union is rare if not impossible. As readers, we have spent two books following Alexia's life without a soul and have gotten used to her 'condition', so seeing characters like the German scientist Mr. Lange-Wilsdorf (who insists on addressing Alexia as the 'Female Specimen') and the church's preceptor (who in turn calls Alexia 'My Soulless One', capital letters and all) examine her like a slide underneath a microscope's gaze is unsettling in the strangest of ways. It's a good sign that Alexia's soullessness is going to become part of the ongoing story in a big way and I look forward to seeing how everything is resolved, if anything is. Add to this the dynamics of werewolf packs and vampire hives as well as the inner workings of England's high society set against a very gears-and-cogs world and it's plain to see that all the world-building and details built up in the first book are greatly paying off.

So, let's add it all up, shall we? In this book alone, a fearlessly stubborn and pregnant soulless female lead is dodging killer insects and odious vampires currently swarming a most steampunk London set in the Victorian age before being forced to flee with her stiff upper lipped butler and French inventor female friend to the land of tasty green sauce and dementedly religious Templars while her husband skulks around drunk on 'pickling' liquid and his beta is forced to pick up the pace of running the pack - and somewhere in the English countryside a fabulously distressed vampire is looking for his favorite drone and a research center disguised as a hat boutique is being overrun by ugly headgear by an unwitting Ivy Hisselpenny and her board-treading husband. With all theseawesome exciting things going on, you'd be demmed foolish to not give this book a whirl.

Overall Grade: A

The Alexia Tarabotti books continue to bring it in terms of adventure, humor, and stylish steampunk - whether in Victorian England or Templar-infested Italy.

In the Radius: Fans of Parasol Protectorate's steampunk-styled action should check out the anime series Last Exile, a sci-fi show created by Studio GONZO which has also been reviewed on the Anime Radius site.

Until Next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sci fi Sunday - Gail Carriger's Changeless

Good morning, and happy Sci Fi Sunday! Today, we bring to you the second review of Gail Carriger's steampunk novels, this one of Changeless, again reviewed by my daughter Sarah.  Enjoy!

Changeless: Parasol Protectorate book 2  
Author: Gail Carriger
Publisher: Orbit Books
American release date: March 30th 2010
Format/Genre/Length: Novel/Fantasy/374 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: Older Teen
Overall Personal Rating: A
Similar series/titles to check out: Leviathan; Discworld; the Sookie Stackhouse novels (Southern Vampire mysteries)

When the supernatural aren't feeling so supernatural anymore, Alexia Tarabotti will have to venture into the darkest depths of a most backwater land to find the truth, braving strange foods and insidious in-laws at the same time - and that place is Scotland.


Alexia Maccon, half-Italian muhjah and wife of a werewolf as well as a woman with no soul who loves food and her parasol, once again finds herself in a bind when she is awoken in the early mid-afternoon by her husband, who instead of sleeping peacefully like a werewolf should be is instead shouting angrily into the air. He then storms out of the house with no real explanation as to what's going on. What she finds instead of answers is an entire regiment of werewolves camped out on the lawn of her house on order of Lord Maccon himself - and as her dinner party is coming up as well. Now BUR and Queen Victoria are on her tail when large swaths of London's supernatural suddenly go pre-natural with no explanation - therefore putting all the suspicion and blame on Alexia's soulless shoulders. Luckily for her, she meets Madame Lefoux, female French inventor with a keen mind and an even keener mind for making a very exciting and combative parasol for Alexia's use. However, not even that will fully solve the case of the pre-naturals gone human, and unfortunately it leads to a place Alexia does not necessarily want to go to: Scotland, home of her beloved husband and where the heart of her investigation lies.

Naturally, Alexia can't do anything without some social complications, especially when her mother dumps one of her sisters on her right as she's about to leave for Scotland, Tunstell and Ivy decide to tag along despite Ivy being engaged and Tunstell smitten with Ivy, and Madame Lefoux joins the expedition in the name of scientific curiosity. The dirigible trip itself brings all sorts of excitement and dangers for the group, but is nothing compared to what lies in store on the rainy plains of Scotland. In a world run by werewolf dynamics and a very Scottish version of social mores, it's going to take all of Alexia's skill and wit to get to the heart of the mystery and still find time to stay sufficiently mad at her runaway husband.


The first book of the Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless, had held much promise for me as a reader but only scored a C rating for a multitude of flaws, partly a growing pains sensation of having to introduce such a wide universe of supernatural steampunk Victorian London in so many pages. I had indicated in my previous review that its sequel, Changeless, was one I would be looking forward to in anticipation of seeing Gail Carriger earn her popularity and acclaim by fans and reviewers alike. Now that I've read the second book in the Parasol Protectorate series, I can now say one thing: it was totally worth getting through Soulless to read this book. In fact, by the time Alexia was beating the everloving bejeezus out of a petulant werewolf soldier, I was pretty much in love with this book and thinking myself a proud tea-drinking member of Team Alexia (and Team Akeldama for the win!). I think if you join now, you get a spiffy badge and a free parasol (weapon accessories not included; contact Madame Lefoux for an appointment ASAP before everyone else gets wind of it). If the second book is a marker of the places this series can go, then I look forward with fangirlish eagerness to the further adventures of the Parasol Protectorate.

In this book, Alexia and her core gang of merry supernaturals (and the occasional mere mortal) are truly at top form, embroiled in more drama than ever before, from Ivy's romantic entanglements to Alexia's husband problems. People who are fans of his wolfness Lord Maccon may be disappointed: he appears briefly in the first chapter, runs out to take care of business, and is not really seen until the dirigible lands in Scotland. That's quite alright - it gives Alexia more of a chance to shine solo, show why she is the perfect protagonist for this series. She's headstrong and dead set on getting things done her own way - that is, by wielding a parasol like a champ and answering the evils of London with her signature sharp wit - and if you don't love Alexia by the end of this book, you'd do best to stop reading the series 'cos Alexia is the life blood of the books and especially Changeless. She might just yet rocket to the top of my most favorite fictional heroine list if the third book manages to top this one.

There were several things tackled in Changeless that were truly memorable, one of them being the steampunk elements of the book. In my previous review, I had complained about a lack of essential steampunk and felt what little there were seemed more like window dressing than actual elements. However, my fears of this being a steampunk book without merit of holding that genre tag have been completely blown away. In this book, there's cogs and gears and magnificent steam-powered science. The dirigibles and the aethographer, which are so SP in essence, are essential plot points and don't seem tacked on in the slightest. Add to that Alexia's wonderful new parasol, and the series has finally come into its own as a steampunk work - although I kinda like referring to it as teapunk, for obvious reasons. Another issue tackled by the series is, surprisingly enough, a topic not exactly laid out in the open in Victorian times: sexuality. It isn't overtly addressed until the end of the book, but astute readers will certainly have their suspicions over the leanings of a certain character - and this time, it isn't the flaboyantly fabulous Lord Akeldama. And personally, I love Carriger for including more LGBTQQI characters in her work, especially since the Victorians weren't exactly known to be nice to those parts of society and I'm sure Miss Carriger will treat the issue of such characters in Victorian society with the respect they will deserve. The fact that the LGBTQQI characters do not suffer from flat personalities and are treated as worthy additions to the character roster feels my bisexual cisgendered heart with glee and squee.

The very end of Changeless is possibly the most incendiary and thrilling part of the book, and when you read it, you will be hopping mad at certain characters and be frantically searching for your own copy of Blameless - and no, it's not out yet, but it will be out in September of this year. Books that invoke that sort of reactions in readers? Always a top pick in my mind. If Soulless was the necessary stepping stone to set up the main story and cast of characters, then Changeless is the book that makes the series into a spectacular must-read for all fans of books looking for something out of the ordinary. After all, there are steampunk books, and there are supernatural books, and there are Victorian comedy of errors . . . and then there is Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, which if it's not on your bookshelf right now, it should be.

Overall Grade:  A

A wonderfully paced story full of mischief, mystery, and manners that is finally and utterly deserving of the genre tag steampunk.

In the Radius: If you enjoy your supernatural tropes turned on their head with a good dose of humor, you should check out the Southern Vampire/Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris, currently being adapted to television as the ongoing series True Blood on Showtime.

Don't forget to check out Sui Lynn's blog at 2 Cents, or my blog at Full Moon Dreaming!!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie