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review 2014-03-28 14:49
Cover Love
Etiquette & Espionage - Gail Carriger

Super cute. Super sassy. Super witty.

Strike that. It looks like I'm trying to sell glitzy fashion to tweens. 

3.25 stars. But it is super cute and fun and all that stuff.Werewolves are wearing top hats! Just the names alone are awesome, and I really hate off-the-wall names 99% of time, but how can you not love the idea of mechanical butler named Frowbritcher? I'm pretty sure that Carriger is one of the only people who can pull off all of the strange names with finesse.

And I don't even know what this means, but I want to start saying it -

"So I can be a puffed-up poodle-faker like you?"

Parasol Protectorate fans are probably going to flinch when I mention that I think I liked E&E a slight bit better than Soulless for book 1 of a series. I get that Soulless had more snark and overt humor than E&E did, but I took to Sophronia's fresh and spunky attitude more than I did Alexia's musings about her large nose. I laughed out loud when Sophronia considered a purple flannel night garment to be salacious (to quote her : imagine that!). 

Gail Carriger's writing style is sort of a weird thing to explain. She has all of the parts present which make for an excellent book - unique characters, harrowing situations, charming imagery, witty banter, etc. - but there's something about the sum of the parts which doesn't quite register in my brain as a complete success. 

Every time I would pick up the book, I'd read a few chapters and be entertained, but I could never go much further in one sitting. I felt like I was on this constant loop of intricacy, and I couldn't make my brain stop moving enough to take it all in large doses. Imagine going to the same tea party every day. The tea is good. The company is good. The conversation is interesting. But you feel like you need to get off the tea party for a minute and have pizza and beer. That's what I feel like when I read Carriger. 

In small doses, the words are charming and fun and stimulating. In large doses, I want to wander off and read something else. And that's why it took me a couple of weeks to read the book, even though I liked it. 

But sometimes, it's okay to slowly savor the things that are good. I'm looking forward to savoring book 2 of this series.

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review 2014-03-13 17:40
One of These Things is Not Like the Other...
Impatient - Viola Grace

Bring on the retro sci-fi erotica vibe, and I'll just pretend to ignore the fact that nothing is explained other than the lead character telling us why (instead of how) everything just happens to be.

It's another planet, man. I guess I'm not smart enough to be told how the nanites work. They just rearrange stuffz. Golaz people are brilliant. So advanced, in fact, that they honor ancient lion-ish mating rituals and public sex marking instead of pesky unions requiring signatures and all of that nonsense. 

I'm Joffrey Baratheon Storoth, and this is how it's always been done.

Think I'm kidding? I'm really not.

"The Golaz mature slowly."

Eva was put into statis (a sleeping state) for years because she had to wait for a kid to grow into a man. Well, technically, he was a man trapped in a kid's body, but yeah...she didn't want to be hooking up with a Joffrey impersonator. 

OH, AND HE'S A LION SHIFTER. What this has to do with ANYTHING, I have no clue. 

I honestly figured this short story had been written back in the glory days of erotic cheese. Ya'know...like a decade or two or maybe even three ago. Publish date 2010? Whoa there. Wet heat seeping and channels clenching? 

Eh, the story was still kind of amusing, even with the chuckles and complete lack of explanation for the science-y stuff. I'd put this on par with a monster porn because it wasn't all that bad for a sci-fi/paranormal/wtf-ever Sleeping Beauty in Space retelling. With sex. And toe stroking. 

And this : "And now you know why I called you squirt."

Why yes, that was an awkward sexual reference. You're welcome.

If I were Eva, I still would have cut a bitch over 

my "future" man learning how to have sex with the woman who tried to kill me when I was sleeping.

(spoiler show)

 But maybe I'm just a zero tolerance kind of gal like that. 


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review 2014-03-12 18:17
Lone Reader Standing
Bone Crossed - Patricia Briggs

I feel like if I tried to explain what I do and don't like about these books, it's not going to make any sense. 

My mind wanders. Even during the "exciting" parts. 

I don't know. I wish I did. It must be a personal style thing because I do read "non-fluffy" books and "not the usual genre standard" books. 

My mind wanders. Even right after I finish a chapter which held my interest, my mind wanders when things lull out for a minute. 

The series is good enough, but not grabbing me. I'll possibly try book 5 after a break (how many months did I put between 3 and 4? I don't even know, but it was a lot).

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review 2014-02-07 15:53
Not the same old switcheroo.
Static - L.A. Witt
"Step right up, see the fourth-floor freak show! What once was a woman is now a man, have a peek, have a look!"

(internal monologue from the main character)

I enjoyed this unique take on shifters. People aren't shifting into animals or other mythical creatures. People are shifting into another form of themselves. Man becomes woman, and woman becomes man. Yes, I can say that I haven't read this specific story before. 

It wasn't hard to root for Alex and Damon because I felt for the two of them, being thrown into a strange situation together without warning. Alex was forced to live in his male body full time; Damon had no clue his girlfriend was actually two sexes.

Books like these always raise the "What would you do?" question. Would most people be able to see the person inside of the shell? Would I? 

It's a tough question to look at. Some relationships crumble over things like weight gain, or other physical changes which are far less minor. I think even the strongest of relationships would be put through the ringer if one person revealed themselves to be something or someone else, especially if it could become full time and permanent. Even putting any sort of secrecy aside, it would be a challenge to look at a person and try to see them for who they were before, merged with who they are now, which is why I was fascinated with how everything was going to unfold.

I was pleased to see that the book didn't skimp on the story for the sake of sex scenes. I liked that the mood fell closer to a dramatic story for the sake of realism. There was no way that a sex scene could happen too early in the book or any sort of sex (whether it was between the two main characters or showing them with other people) wouldn't have felt organic to the progression of events. This is one instance where it was important (in my mind) to have the characters take their time figuring out who they were and who they needed to be.

As far as stumbling blocks...I might have had some issues with the preachy moments. I believe that if a story is good enough on its own, the message will come through without having to beat people over the head with the point. If the story is a success, readers will most likely examine their feelings in the process. 

For the sake of characters, I probably preferred Damon's PoV to Alex's. While it must have sucked to be Alex and stuck in a situation beyond his/her control, I think as a reader, I was more curious to see where Damon's head was at. It was easy for me to skim Alex's chapters because I had less of an interest in his work situation (yes, it was partially a coming out story, but the draw here for me was in the Damon/Alex dynamic).

Overall, I thought it was an interesting read, if a little heavy handed at times with the execution.

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