Soulless by Gail Carriger (Parasol Protectorate #1)

Title: Soulless
Series Title: Parasol Protectorate
Author: Gail Carriger
Date Added: October 26, 2016
Date Started: April 26, 2018
Date Finished: June 1, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Supernatural/Paranormal, Paranormal Romance

Soulless by Gail Carriger coverPages: 357
Publisher: Orbit
Publication Date: October 1, 2009
Media: Paperback (Library)


Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. 

First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire–and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?


Note: I borrowed this from the library with the thought it was a graphic novel/manga.  While there is a manga (which I also want to read after I finish the series), I didn’t realize it was based on the book, and that is what I wound up getting.

Nothing makes me happier than when a novel I’m dicey on becomes an utter delight.  I considered DNFing this because of the, how should I say it, Victorian bigotry that’s presented more as Alexia’s navigation through it rather than her own personal fixation.  She has to be concerned with her spinster status, huge nose, and darker skin (courtesy of her Italian father) because everyone, including and especially her mother and half-sisters, judge her for it.

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The State of the Reader: 5/8/19

<–The State of the Reader: 4/24/19         The State of the Reader: 5/22/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 2


Books Finished: 2

Title: Coal
Series Title: Everleaf
Author: Constance Burris
Date Added: April 23, 2017
Date Started: April 10, 2019
Date Finished: April 30, 2019

Coal coverMedia: eBook/Kindle

By the end, I couldn’t stand Chalcedony.  She’s immature and needs to understand actions have consequences.  She’s supposed to be a ruler, and while I understand perceptions of power are vital, she just keeps making mistakes in order to maintain her image, which causes her to look worse.  Coal, the “weak” human, is much better at making decisions than her.  He’s not afraid to do what needs to be done even at the risk of his own life.  Even though the next book has the princess’s name, it seems to start with Coal (unfairly facing consequences for Chalcedony’s actions), so I’m interested in continuing.

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The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis (A Dance of Dragons #1) (DNF)

Title: The Shadow Soul
Series Title: A Dance of Dragons
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: May 14, 2018
Date DNF: May 15, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA), Paranormal

The Shadow Soul coverPages: 292
Publication Date: January 22, 2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle


When Jinji’s home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to–until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn’t mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret–magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh.

But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence–it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn…


This is one of those books that initially seems like I’d tear through with alacrity based on the blurb, but I was extremely meh about the opening.  It’s your typical destroyed people/vengeance fare, but I didn’t garner much deep emotion from it because I didn’t invest much in the characters due to that cataclysm being present in the blurb.  Even so I liked what the author was setting up with Jinji’s story arc, an indigenous young woman whose home and culture is destroyed.  I was here for that revenge story, but then…the male character is introduced.

Rhen is unlikable for a variety of reasons.  He’s arrogant as fuck with an unearned know-it-all attitude.  Davis tells us how smart he is through his own ruminations, which may be her way of disputing it, but it just comes off as pompous.  I could forgive this slight, but I was pretty much done when he revealed he might be an unabashed rapist per the very act that introduces him.

He did however feel slightly uneasy.  It really wasn’t the girl’s fault that he had slipped into her room just before dawn.

I won’t say it’s blatant, but it gave me an icky feeling.  Pairing that with a lukewarm beginning sealed the deal.  If Rhen had been interesting or reputable, I might have continued, but I had no interest in seeing a fairly decent character like Jinji paired with what can’t even be considered a mediocre man.  Maybe he matures; maybe she “fixes” him (ugh), but she deserves better.

The Habitation of the Blessed by Catherynne M. Valente (A Dirge for Prester John #1)

Title: The Habitation of the Blessed
Series Title: A Dirge for Prester John
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Date Added: September 28, 2012
Date Started: March 26, 2018
Date Finished: May 23, 2018
Reading Duration: 58 days
Genre: Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Christian Mythos

The Habitation of the Blessed coverPages: 269
Publication Date: March 1, 2010
Publisher: Night Shade Books
Media: Paperback


This is the story of a place that never was: the kingdom of Prester John, the utopia described by an anonymous, twelfth-century document which captured the imagination of the medieval world and drove hundreds of lost souls to seek out its secrets, inspiring explorers, missionaries, and kings for centuries. But what if it were all true? What if there was such a place, and a poor, broken priest once stumbled past its borders, discovering, not a Christian paradise, but a country where everything is possible, immortality is easily had, and the Western world is nothing but a dim and distant dream?

Brother Hiob of Luzerne, on missionary work in the Himalayan wilderness on the eve of the eighteenth century, discovers a village guarding a miraculous tree whose branches sprout books instead of fruit. These strange books chronicle the history of the kingdom of Prester John, and Hiob becomes obsessed with the tales they tell. The Habitation of the Blessed recounts the fragmented narratives found within these living volumes, revealing the life of a priest named John, and his rise to power in this country of impossible richness. John’s tale weaves together with the confessions of his wife Hagia, a blemmye–a headless creature who carried her face on her chest–as well as the tender, jeweled nursery stories of Imtithal, nanny to the royal family.


They think you childish, that you insist your god looks just like you.  That is how a baby thinks, because she has only her parents to protect her, so all the power in the universe bears her own face.

Catherynne M. Valente is mostly a hit with me, and though I’ve had issues getting into a few of her novels before, I was determined to give The Habitation of the Blessed another try.  Not only did I love the language and mytho-religious basis of it, but the following book The Folded World seemed even more intriguing.  Of course there’s no rule that says you must read all the books in a series; I just don’t like entering a narrative in the middle unless, of course, it’s in media res.  The second attempt was more fruitful, and my inabilities prior might have been due to my own concentration issues.  The beginning is a bit slow, but it doesn’t last for long.

The Habitation of the Blessed exists as a series of vignettes tied together and hinged on a butterfly’s wings.  Using the framing device of Brother Hiob searching for Prester John who went abroad to teach Christianity, but found himself the recipient of an immortal faith.  This style of story within story is very similar to Valente’s other series The Orphan’s Talesthough Habitation doesn’t go quite as Inception as the fore mentioned.  It also involves multiple story tellers as opposed to just one.

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The State of the Reader: 4/24/19

<–The State of the Reader: 4/10/19         The State of the Reader: 5/8/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 2


Books Finished: 1

Title: The Phantom of the Opera
Author: Gaston Leroux
Date Added: November 29, 2018
Date Started: December 2, 2018
Date Finished: April 18, 2019
Reading Duration: 137 days

The Phantom of the OperaMedia: Paperback

Thank…god I’m finished with this novel.  Raoul was a complete waste of space, and Christine could’ve easily been replaced with a sexy, singing lamp for all the agency she had.  The most interesting character was the Persian who didn’t even have a name.  This is one of those stories that became better in adaptation.

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The State of the Reader: 4/10/19

<–The State of the Reader: 3/27/19         The State of the Reader: 4/24/19–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 0


Books Finished: 2

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Series Title: The Expanse
Author: James S. A. Corey
Date Added: June 6, 2018
Date Started: February 19, 2019
Date Finished: April 4, 2019

Leviathan Wakes coverMedia: eBook/Kindle

This book was so much more than its flawed characters who were so for a reason.  It doesn’t mean they can’t become icons if you’re willing to make some sacrifices.

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The State of the Reader: 3/27/19

<–The State of the Reader: 3/13/19         The State of the Reader: 4/10/19–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 1


Books Finished: 0


Currently Reading

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Series Title: The Expanse
Author: James S. A. Corey
Date Added: June 6, 2018
Date Started: February 19, 2019

Leviathan Wakes coverMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 76%

This is one of those books I almost DNFed, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  The shit hit the fan, and while the degree is astronomical, it’s nothing that humans haven’t done before.  Grimdark in space this might be, but it’s the same old shit we’ve been doing to each other for millennium.

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