Another October Supplemental!

IMG_1370

Amber Here!

So here’s my next single review! Hope you enjoy it!

And don’t forget to check out my other penny dreadful blog, Finder Of Lost Things! This week Phoebe’s dealing with the aftereffects from her dinner at the Fungus House with Wood and Beatrice.

Theodora Goss – European Travel For The Monstrous Gentlewoman

This is Book II in The Extraordinary Adventures of the Athena Club series, the follow-up novel to The Strange Case Of The Alchemist’s Daughter which I reviewed in September.

If you enjoy supernatural adjacent mysteries, I highly recommend both books in this series (and I cannot wait until the third book!). Goss masterfully tweaks and massages classic gothic texts (without ever misshapenning them) to create a unique set of heroines whom I find seriously fun to read!

After finding each other in the first book, our five heroines (the daughters of mad scientists Victor Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyl, Mr. Hyde, Dr. Moreau & Dr. Rappaccini) receive a telegram requesting assistance for another scientifically mistreated girl – the daughter of Dr. Van Helsing.

To execute this rescue, and put an end to these hideous experiments, they will greet old friends, make new ones, and travel across Europe at breakneck speeds!

Once again I cannot state how much I enjoyed reading this series. The two books (so far) are well constructed and executed. Giving both solid outcomes to the current mystery at hand while providing solid hints about problems which will plague the girls in the next book (no I’m not going to tell you what they are – except one involves Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson).

While Goss is using characters from well-loved gothic classics like Frankenstein, Dracula and Dr. Jekle & Mr. Hyde (plus one well-known detective) – she breathes new life in them – but never abandons the canon of the original stories. Sherlock doesn’t have roller skates strapped to his feet, Irene Adler isn’t an idiot and Renfield is still nuts.

Perhaps every now and again Goss is a bit heavy-handed with declarations of friendship between her girls during their European travels. But it only happens every now and again, and is the only real flaw for me in this installment – which is pretty good for a 706-page book!

October Supplemental!

IMG_1391

Amber Here!

Fall brings many delightful things, colorful leaves, pumpkin spice everything and a cornucopia of new releases! So many in fact I cannot wait to share them with you guys.

So here’s the first in a string of single book reviews, hope they help you sort out your to-be-read stacks!

(And btw don’t forget to check out my other blog – Finder Of Lost Things!)

Chloe Neill – Wild Hunger

An Heirs Of Chicagoland Novel

Twenty years have passed since we last visited Chicago – the food is still great, the Cubs are still swinging, and supernatural politics are still tricky. The biggest change? The Houses are no longer allowed to investigate supernatural crimes which occur in their fair city – the Ombudsmen’s office scrutinizes all (which means Merit’s hung up her katana). This arrangement has worked out well, due to the peace struck by Master Ethan Sullivan and his Sentinal Merit with Chicago and its other supernatural residents.

This peace is a blueprint for other, more troubled, regions in the world. One of the places looking to forge their own peace accord? The vampire Houses of Western Europe, who’ve all agreed to treat Chicago as neutral territory, where they can attempt to hammer out their own peace accord. It doesn’t hurt that all the Houses in Chicago are well armed and well trained (plus the Pack) and are ready to keep everyone honest.

What does this mean to the daughter of Ethan and Merit? Who happens to be completing her year of armed service for a Parisian House in exchange for a college education? She’s going home.

Elisa Sullivan should feel thrilled at the prospect of seeing her family and friends again, and she does…But setting foot in Chicago also fills her with trepidation. Because Elisa has a secret, a secret linked to the magic which enabled her mother to carry her to term (Elisa’s unlike any other vampire in the world because she was born, not made).

Unfortunately, this secret isn’t Elisa’s only problem or even her biggest headache. That honor belongs to the less than popular member of one of the delegations who gets murdered literally in her parent’s backyard – which threatens to unravel the entire summit.

Then there’s the Faries…and the heir-apparent of the Pack…all of whom seem intent on throwing wrenches into the works…

This book is the first in a new series which features the next generation of the supernaturals of the Chicagoland series (I mean it is the description of the series).

This premise puts Neill in a tricky position writing-wise.

Creating whole new stories set in and amongst an already existing landscape is tricky. Because Neill needed to incorporate the pillars of the original series, many of whom are immortal (or really difficult to kill – which amounts to the same thing) while writing unique new characters to follow on their heels.

On the whole, Neill pulled it off well.

Wild Hunger does an excellent job of hinting around at exciting future storylines while echoing earlier themes of the original series. All the while following clues to resolve the fast-paced mystery being investigated by our new heroine. Perhaps Wild Hunger has a bit of the soft-reboot blues, the need to pay homage to the old guard weighing the narrative down slightly. BUT I am confident this slight flaw will be cleared up in the next installment allowing the shiny new cast to go their own way – with the original players making cameos when needed.

And I cannot wait until the next one is released! (BTW I inhaled this book in one sitting!)

Wild Hunger is a fun, fast read and I highly recommend it. Neill does a great job in quietly catching up a new reader with the backstory without boring her longtime readers (which is a huge feat in and of itself!). Anyone who’s looking for an entertaining supernatural mystery this Halloween season should give this book a try! (Plus, if you’re intimidated by a huge series, Wild Hunger allows you to leap into Chicagoland without reading Neill’s entire catalog. But I warn you if you love Wild Hunger you might be tempted to go back and start Some Girls Bite!)

From Me To You…

last

Things I learned while working at SMB:

1. It is okay to not finish a book if you aren’t enjoying it.
2. How to write book reviews and blogs
3. How to manage a website.
4. That Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Daly and Georgette Heyer are some of my absolutely favorite authors.
5. How to defend highly formed opinions on Young Adult fiction and censorship
6. That enthusiasm and sincerity can bamboozle even the most jaded author into a smile.
7. I got to meet Jasper Fforde and Sophie Hannah! (While this isn’t strictly learning something, it was REALLY exciting!)

Who I met at SMB:

Working at SMB I met my friends JB and Fran, who over the past ten years have provided inspiration, guidance and a kick in the pants – when needed. Without them I never would have read Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, Rex Stout, Carol O’Connel, Alan Bradley, Ellis Peters and the list just keeps going on. These two great people helped me work up the confidence to write My 52 Weeks With Christie (of which I am still very proud). With JB and Fran I experienced the absolutely weirdest job interview ever (which still blows my mind).

Then….

1. Ernie Cline let me check out a gull-wing DeLorean with an authentic-looking flux capacitor (thanks Ernie)
2. I got to talk soccer with Ian Rankin and a score of European authors
3. Startled Helen Tursten with my enthusiasm over her books
4. Laughed with Gail Carriger
4. Learn a totally new fist bump from Seanan McGuire
5. And I got to meet Jasper Fforde and Sophie Hannah! (have I mentioned that this was REALLY exciting!)

Even better? I met all of you guys. Readers who I got to know over the past ten years (can you believe it?). All of our great readers who recommended books that I never would have tried otherwise. Readers who when I placed a book in their hands and told them they “had to read it” they believed me and did. Maybe I didn’t always remember your names (it was a universal flaw), but my faulty memory aside – I will miss all of you.

Even better I got to bake approximately 1,000,000,000 cookies for you all!

It is still hard to believe I won’t see you almost every day. Even when I drive JB & Fran crazy and vise versa (I am sure they will not miss my penchant for organization & cleaning), they gave me the courage to try look towards the future with hope and enthusiasm. Our Readers, authors and friends helped me try some things both new and a bit scary, a little awesome and slightly twisted. When I remember The Shop, Bill, JB, Fran and you all – I will try to remember the best advise Dr. Seuss ever gave: Don’t Cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Until then keep reading.

Amber