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review 2017-10-23 04:42
The Watchmaker's Daughter
The Watchmaker's Daughter - C.J. Archer

This just didn't quite work for me. The premise was really sound, and there were parts of it that I enjoyed. But there were also parts that employed tropes that I truly loathe including a female MC who had TSTL moments and the dreaded Big Misunderstanding.

 

The book also ends rather abruptly at 82%, leaving several plot threads hanging. Not what I'd call a true cliffhanger, but frustrating all the same.

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review 2017-10-22 15:59
Affinity
Affinity - Sarah Waters

After the death of her father and an episode of severe depression, Margaret Prior becomes a lady visitor in the Millbank prison. Here she encounters Selina Dawes, a spiritual medium, who claims to speak to the dead. A woman, who Margaret can´t resist to become infatuated with.

 

This was a great read. Out of the four Sarah Waters novels I have read so far, this is the one I liked the best. Which is odd, because this is the gloomiest and darkest of them all. The prison setting with its oppressiveness made this an exceptional dark and gothic read and the plot was riveting and kept me glued to the pages. As for the ending:

 

About a halfway through the novel I suspected what was going to happen. Knowing this didn´t take anything away from my enjoyment reading this novel. It was a whole lot of fun to watch the disaster unfold (I didn´t have a lot of sympathies for the main characters to begin with).

(spoiler show)

 

I was hesitant picking this novel up because I have heard that Affinity is the least favorite book of many Sarah Waters readers. Which makes me even more happy that I happened to like it.

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review 2017-10-22 14:42
Book 69/100: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
This is one of the best Maguire books I've read, right up there with the first couple Oz retellings (I only read the first two but heard the later ones weren't as good.)

Similar to "Mirror, Mirror," Maguire places the story of Cinderella within a firm historical time and place -- Holland at the start of the tulip trade. But unlike "Mirror, Mirror," it doesn't have the strange conflagration of fantasy and historical realism that didn't quite work for me. "Confessions" could be read as a straight historical retelling with the characters holding onto some "magical" belief systems, or it could be read as a very subtle fantasy rooted in a historical setting. This ambiguity worked for me.

The stepmother and stepsisters, as well as the "Cinderella" character, are all vividly drawn. The stepmother comes across as both wicked and sympathetic -- surely not an easy feat to accomplish. As soon as I got over my hangup that it felt as if this story should be told first-person (it's CONFESSIONS, after all!), I enjoyed the masterful and detailed writing -- although the level of detail and the change the characters underwent in the course of the story made it feel as though it should have taken place over a longer span of time than it actually did. Still, that was a minor quibble -- and the minor "twist" at the end really worked for me.

The retelling genre teems with Cinderella stories, but this one moves to the front of the line for me.
 
 
 
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review 2017-10-22 00:17
Weaver's Lament by Emma Newman
Weaver's Lament: Industrial Magic Book 2 (Kindle Single) - Emma Newman

Series: Industrial Magic #2

 

Charlotte's brother, Ben, is now working for the Royal Society in a mill (driven magically, naturally) and asks her to come visit him in Manchester to help him investigate the cause of some mysterious accidents at the mill. Apparently Socialists are suspected. Charlotte finds out that this is dead wrong, of course, and learns more about the Royal Society and Latents (latent magical users).

 

I still don't like Ben. He's very comfortable with using Charlotte, let's just say, and he always seems to get more out of her successes than she does (which she realizes as well). And even after seeing what working in those conditions does to her, he writes it off as she's just not used to hard work, not that there's something inherently unfair in the conditions at the mill. Poor Charlie.

 

I enjoyed this novella even more than the last, so I look forward to the next installment!

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review 2017-10-21 23:07
Chalk full AF
The Diabolical Miss Hyde: An Electric Empire Novel (Electric Empire Novels) - Viola Carr

 

In London, we've got murderers by the dozen. Rampsmen, garroters, wife beaters and baby farmers, poisoners and pie makers and folk who'll crack you over the noddle with a ha'penny cosh for the sake of your flashy watch chain and leave your meat for the rats. Never mind what you read in them penny dreadful:  there ain't no romance in murder.

 

This was a mashup of steampunk, Victorian, Gothic, and classic horror. Our heroine is Dr. Eliza Jekyll AND Lizzie Hyde. She helps Inspector Griffin study crime scenes to catch the killers, currently trying to find The Chopper, and works/studies at Bedlam. Captain Lafayette comes on the scene, he works for the Royal Society. The Royal Society works to keep fey/magical people from society, they burn them when they find them. We also have a Mr. Todd who currently resides in Bedlam courtesy of Eliza, Finch who makes Eliza's elixir that helps keep Lizzie at bay, A.R. who is Eliza's mysterious benefactor, two doctors at Bedlam who may be up to no good, Johnny the mysterious fey boy, a Penny Dreadful writer, and a bunch of characters I'm probably forgetting because holy cow. All those characters I mentioned bring with them previously created horror themes. We've got Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (of course), Frankenstein, Werewolves, Sweeny Todd, Jack the Ripper, and a sort of Silence of the Lambs relationship. Again, I'm probably forgetting something.

 

It took me until around the 15% mark to get any sort of footing because of the amazing amount of characters and story threads happening, I felt like I was starting in the middle of a series. The Chopper plot started off the strongest  and I thought that was the main one but towards the middle, it starts to get left behind as we focus more on Eliza and issues in her life. All male characters seem to be in love with her, which was sort of annoying and the few female characters seemed to be jealous of her.

 

I pull his hand beneath my skirts, between my thighs, an inch above my garter where the stiletto sings. "See?" My breath is sultry against his neck. "Told you I had a weapon."

"Consider me ambushed."

 

Eliza, Inspector Griffin, and Captain Lafayette had fun chemistry when they went back and forth in their conversations but then Griffin heads more to the sides and a romance teases around Lafayette and Eliza and Lizzie. This is clearly the first in a series that will follow Eliza and I'm sure there will be a deepening of this relationship as we just get the start here.

 

Most of this was in first person pov from Eliza, with Lizzie cutting in and as so, when action scenes happen it was sometimes hard to follow along. I'm sure the author had a clear picture in her mind of what was happening but as a new to the scene reader, it was far from being clear and some of it breezed by me, it would have been nice to have a third person overview.

 

Basically, this story was jammed packed with characters and storylines (Sir Isaac Newton makes an appearance and starts a storyline that I'm not sure was ever really explained) and I spent a lot of time feeling lost. It was different and interesting and I might try the second now that I have at least an introduction to the world and characters.

 

(If anyone has read this, who is supposed to be on the guy on the cover?! Johnny?)

 

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