Some Thoughts about England


Most of the beer we’ve had in England was good. I especially liked the bitter twist beer from Kingston Arms I got the first night we arrived in Cambridge. The trek to the pub was a bit long because I went the wrong direction halfway through, so that may have made the beer extra delicious.


The next morning, we went to a nearby restaurant that had vegan bangers and mash from Backyard Bistro. The beans were actually pretty good, but it was the sausage that stood out. It was potato based and more like a croquette. It was a different type of sausage than the ones we usually get in the states, which is usually made out of seitan or soy.

Review: Changeless

Changeless (The Parasol Protectorate, #2)Changeless by Gail Carriger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There are more elements of steampunk in this second Parasol Protectorate (I love the name of the series!) novel than in the second one, which was interesting. I liked that Carriger wasn’t overly obsessed with giving a gear by gear explanation of how those crazy gadgets and machinations worked.

The mystery in this book unfolded much more slowly than the first one. I was eased into it so delicately that I didn’t realize what the plot of the book was until almost at the apex. There are a lot of going-ons in this book, but they do tie neatly together. The solution to the mystery was pretty anti-climatic.

I’d like to say that there’s more character building in Changeless, but there isn’t. All the characters are still very one-dimensional to the point of being annoying. Ivy and her crazy hats and dim-wittedness. The mean half-sister and her self-centeredness. Alexia and her ample, heaving bossoms. Lord Maccon and his yelling and Scottishness.

The ending was kind of abrupt with a lot of things resolving and happening at once to ultimately fall off at a soap-operaish cliffhanger. Before that part, I was ambivalent about reading the third book, but now I *have* to know what happens.

Changeless isn’t the most deep or thought-provoking book I’ve read, but Carriger has a way of words and the book is fun and light-hearted.

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Review: Soulless

Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate, #1)Soulless by Gail Carriger

A steampunk-lite romp into a refreshingly new world of vampires and werewolves. I was getting pretty jaded and worn out by urban fantasy/paranormal romance books, but Soulless’s take on the mythos was different enough to keep me interested.

In the world of Soulless, there are those with an overabundance of soul who can be changed into vampires and werewolves, there are those with the normal amount of soul (humans), and then there are those few without any soul at all such as our heroine. Alexia Tarabotti, our heroine in question, may live in semi-victorian world where women are married off to wealthy, powerful men but she’s no shrinking violet. She’s strong, speaks her mind, and isn’t afraid to take action, yet she’s not as caustic as those "kick your ass" protagonists in many other urban fantasy books.

The writing is whimsical and feels old-timey without feeling too contrived. The budding romance between the two leads is obvious and cliched, but still sweet.

The only thing that I disliked about Soulless was the derogatory way gay men and vampires were portrayed. For a society that’s supposedly so open as to have vampires and werewolves integrated into the more delicate classes, it isn’t very polite to gays. In the novel, they’re frivolous, all wear flamboyant costumes, are limp wristed, and are referred to as ‘dandies’ several times. It may have been in a jocular manner, but it rubbed me the wrong way.

Despite that one flaw, the book was an entertaining read that was difficult to put down. I think I finished it in two days and felt pretty satisfied in the end. Definitely going to read the rest in the series.

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