The Monday Check-In ~ 8/27/2018

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

What did I read during the last week?

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells: It’s the return of Murderbot! My review is here.

Fatal Throne (by a whole list of authors): My review of this YA take on the Tudors is here.

Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3) by Gail Carriger: I just adored the audiobook! My thoughts are here.

And a late addition — just finished over the weekend:

You Me Everything by Catherine Isaac: Sweet, heart-centered contemporary fiction. My review is here.

Pop culture goodness:

I watched the Netlix movie version of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before — adorable! Question for all my bookish friends: Since I enjoyed the movie, should I read the book?

Fresh Catch:

I bought a business-y book. Can you believe it? I’ve made a vague commitment to a few folks at work to read this… but I have a hard time using my precious reading moments for non-pleasure reading.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown by Seanan McGuire: It’s Seanan McGuire! Of course I’m going to read this book!

Now playing via audiobook:

Back to Tamora Pierce and Tortall! I’m starting The Immortals series, which begins with Wild Magic. I’m not loving the full-cast recording so far (those rarely work for me), but I’m sticking with it to see if the story itself grabs me.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. Slow but steady!
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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Audiobook Review: Competence by Gail Carriger (The Custard Protocol, #3)

 

 

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life’s most challenging questions:

Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?

Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?

And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?

Picture yourself floating through the air, with a ladybug-spotted balloon overhead, surrounded by your best friends and some adoring crew members. Picture yourself floating above India, Africa, even the Pacific Ocean. Picture yourself with fancy hats, stylish traveling dresses, and oversized parasols.

Fun, right?

Did all that imagining make you feel light and bubbly, maybe even a little giddy? Well, that’s a bit what reading the Custard Protocol books feels like, start to finish. The books in this delightful series are clearly fantasy, feel-good adventures, featuring exotic locales and extravagant fashion mixed with plenty of tea, camaraderie, and mid-air shenanigans.

As Competence is the third book in the series (with one more still to come), it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on the story so far. In book #1, Prudence, we’re introduced to the young leading lady, Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama, daughter of a preternatural and a werewolf (who themselves are the stars of the phenomenal Parasol Protectorate series). Known as Rue, she’s feisty, independent, and itching for adventure. When her adoptive father, the vampire Lord Akeldama, gives her her very own dirigible, Rue takes to the skies with her best friend Primrose, Prim’s twin brother Percy, the flirty Frenchman Quesnel as ship’s engineer, and a crew full of oddball characters. All sorts of chaotic escapades ensue, including run-ins with weremonkeys and a very attractive werelioness.

In the 2nd book, Imprudence, the crew once again floats off on adventure, this time to Egypt, where they’re pursued by various bad guys, meet a ghost, and befriend some airborne nomadic tribes, And in the midst of all this, Rue discovers the pleasures of physical intimacy and love, and enjoys both immensely.

Competence picks up the story just a little while later, but this time around, Primrose takes over as lead character, occasionally ceding the POV spotlight to her brother Percy. Through their eyes, we continue on to new adventures on board the Spotted Custard (Rue’s dirigible), first in Singapore and then across the ocean to Peru. Prim is a very proper young woman, a steadfast friend to Rue and one heck of a ship’s purser, responsible for keeping the dirigible stocked, fueled, and ready to float off at a moment’s notice. Despite being determined to achieve a society-approved good marriage, Prim finds herself increasingly drawn to Tasherit, the exotically beautiful werelioness who is now a full member of the crew. Prim can’t quite bring herself to venture so far outside the bounds of approved English standards as to enter into a relationship with a woman, but there’s no denying the spark between the two, and as Prim acknowledges, cats can be very persistent about getting what they want.

Meanwhile, the Spotted Custard’s adventures include the discovery of a strange and endangered breed of vampires, unusual weather patterns and weird pirate ships, and a spontaneous heist of helium from an unsuspecting tourist vehicle. Plus, the usual shipboard quibbles and romances, as well as philosophical discussion groups and scientific theorizing.

Competence is just as much fun as the first two books in the series. In this book, the romances in focus do not fit the mold of Victorian social acceptability — but the author’s depiction makes it clear that Rue and friends are open-minded and refuse to be bound by meaningless judgment. On the Spotted Custard, love is love, period… and that’s a very good thing, for the characters as well as for the readers. Prim takes a very long time to make up her mind, but the banter and flirtation between her and Tasherit light up the page, so you know it’s just a matter of time…

Looking back, I’m a little shocked at myself to discover that on first read, I didn’t fall in love with Prudence. It makes me itch to go back and rewrite my original review! Sometimes, though, it’s just a question of mood and timing. Maybe I wasn’t in the right frame of mind to appreciate the Custard Protocol when I first read the first book. When I revisited book 1 as an audiobook, I adored it, and loved the 2nd book just as much.

A note on the audiobooks: They’re amazing! Narrator Moira Quirk does an outstanding job with the characters, capturing their voices, their accents, and their personalities, and making each one distinct and instantly recognizable. She’s also great with the action scenes, and really brings out the humor of Gail Carriger’s fantastically quippy dialogue.

The Custard Protocol series is truly delectable, and Competence is a wonderful addition. And now, we wait… Book #4, Reticence, is due out in 2019.

_________________________________________

The details:

Title: Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3)
Author: Gail Carriger
Narrator: Moira Quirk
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: July 17, 2018
Length (print): 309 pages
Length (audiobook): 11 hours, 52 minutes
Genre: Fantasy/steampunk
Source: Purchased

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/20/2018

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

It’s back-to-school day here in San Francisco — so despite what the calendar may say, in my mind, that’s the end of summer. Ah well, it was nice while it lasted! Back to the parental duties of nagging about homework, doing school drop-offs, and worrying about grades.

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: The 12th October Daye book is brilliant and powerful, demonstrating that this series is going strong even 12 books in! I’m just upset now at the idea of waiting a full year for book #13! Check out my review of Night and Silence, here.

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman: Once again, my book group’s book of the month turned out to be a terrific read! My review is here.

In children’s books…

I came across a reference to the ballad of Tam Lin in my reading this week, and realized that while I’d heard of it before, I didn’t actually know the story. Children’s books are a terrific source of fairy tale knowledge! My local library had a copy of Jane Yolen’s telling of Tam Lin, and I loved it. The story is enhanced by Charles Mikolaycak’s beautiful illustrations, and this book turned out to be exactly what I needed — much better than reading a dry synopsis on Wikipedia!

Pop culture goodness:

I watched the Netlix movie version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society over the weekend. Just lovely! It’s been many years since I read the book… and now I’m thinking I should read it again.

Fresh Catch:

While I was at the library, I picked up a couple more books that caught my eye. Because apparently I don’t already have enough to read?

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Rogue Protocol by Martha Wells: Murderbot is back! I’m justing starting the 3rd novella in the series, and Murderbot is as fed up with humanity as ever. Such fun.

Now playing via audiobook:

Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3) by Gail Carriger: I’m so close to the end! Loving every moment.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. Slow but steady!
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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Thursday Quotables: Competence by Gail Carriger

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Welcome to Thursday Quotables! This feature is the place to highlight a great quote, line, or passage discovered during your reading each week.  Whether it’s something funny, startling, gut-wrenching, or just really beautifully written, Thursday Quotables is where my favorite lines will be, and you’re invited to join in!
Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve done a Thursday Quotables post. Something (looking at you, Gail Carriger!) must have inspired me this week!
Onward with this week’s Thursday Quotable:

 

Competence by Gail Carriger
(published July 17, 2018)

I’m listening to this utterly delightful and profoundly silly new book by Gail Carriger, the 3rd book in her Custard Protocol series. Here, the adventurous crew of the Spotted Custard dirigible, makes their way from Singapore to South America on a trip filled with hazardous aetherosphere currents, navigational challenges, rogue prisoners, and unexpected romance. The audiobook is just so darn cute and lovable, and today in particular, I found myself laughing out loud in public places while listening. So there’s that.

So… this angry rebuke from an unfriendly member of the engineering crew cracked me up:

“Well, there’s no need to throw Italian mathematicians at me.”

 

(Maybe you had to be there…)

This book, as with the others in this ‘verse, places a great deal of importance on fashion, and particularly headwear:

Primose couldn’t help herself, her eyes were drawn to the top of her brother’s head. A sort of blue velvet and silver-embroidered flowerpot perched there. It sported a long silken tassel out the top which trailed down one side to tickle his temple.

“Percy, what are you wearing? Is that a Turkish lounging cap? It’s middy! We’re outside. There are so many thing wrong with that right now, and I can’t even begin — “

The book and the entire series are terrifically charming, and should not be missed! Here’s the synopsis (via Goodreads)… and I’ll share more thoughts once I’ve finished the audiobook!

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes the delightful sequel to Imprudence.

Accidentally abandoned!

All alone in Singapore, proper Miss Primrose Tunstell must steal helium to save her airship, the Spotted Custard, in a scheme involving a lovesick werecat and a fake fish tail.

When she uncovers rumors of a new kind of vampire, Prim and the Custard crew embark on a mission to Peru. There, they encounter airship pirates and strange atmospheric phenomena, and are mistaken for representatives of the Spanish Inquisition. Forced into extreme subterfuge (and some rather ridiculous outfits) Prim must also answer three of life’s most challenging questions:

Can the perfect book club give a man back his soul?

Will her brother ever stop wearing his idiotic velvet fez?

And can the amount of lard in Christmas pudding save an entire species?

What lines have you loved this week? Please share!

If you’d like to participate in Thursday Quotables, it’s really simple:

  • Write a Thursday Quotables post on your blog. Try to pick something from whatever you’re reading now. And please be sure to include a link back to Bookshelf Fantasies in your post (http://www.bookshelffantasies.com), if you’d be so kind!
  • Add your Thursday Quotables post link in the comments section below… and I’d love it if you’d leave a comment about my quote for this week too.
  • Be sure to visit other linked blogs to view their Thursday Quotables, and have fun!

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The Monday Check-In ~ 8/13/2018

cooltext1850356879 My Monday tradition, including a look back and a look ahead — what I read last week, what new books came my way, and what books are keeping me busy right now. Plus a smattering of other stuff too.

Life.

Tomorrow is my baby boy’s 16th birthday! Where has the time flown? I couldn’t ask for a better, funnier, more amazing human being as a son. Just imagine, if he were actually a reader, he’d be perfect!

 

 

What did I read during the last week?

It’s been a slow reading week, due to crazy times at work and a bit too much TV binge-watching. But, what I’ve read, I’ve loved!

It’s been all about the re-reads this week. I don’t know about you, but for me, re-reading the previous book in a series gets me super-psyched and ready when there’s a new release, so that’s what I’ve been doing.

Imprudence by Gail Carriger: I listened (again) to the 2nd book in the adorable Custard Protocol series, and loved it completely. Narrator Moira Quirk is amazing.

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire: I decided to re-read the 11th October Daye book before starting #12. I love this series and these characters so, so, so much — but #11 is such a heart-breaker. It’s been a rough week. My thoughts from my original read of this book are here.

Fresh Catch:

It’s the new Kopp Sisters book! An amazing package of goodies arrived — read more about it here.

What will I be reading during the coming week?

Currently in my hands:

Night and Silence by Seanan McGuire: As I mentioned above, I did a re-read of the previous book in the series to get read for Night and Silence, and now I’m diving in! I’m almost too excited to be actually reading this book. I love Toby. And I want her to be happy. That is all.

Now playing via audiobook:

Competence (The Custard Protocol, #3) by Gail Carriger: This series is just so much fun, and the audiobooks are amazing.

Ongoing reads:

Book group reads:

  • Classic read: My book group’s current classic read is Middlemarch by George Eliot.  We’re reading and discussing two chapters per week. I think we’ve finally passed the halfway point!
  • The Scottish Prisoner by Diana Gabaldon. Continuing our group read of the Lord John works, it’s lovely to revisit The Scottish Prisoner, which stars Lord John Grey and everyone’s favorite Scottish laird, Jamie Fraser. Want to join in? Ask me how!

So many books, so little time…

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