1.28.2015

Book Review ~ Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis


Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis was entirely new to me and I quite enjoyed it. I can't remember how this book came on my radar originally (I really should start keeping track of that kind of thing). It's mid grade but with the sophisticated edge one might expect from a Regency setting. It was not as light nor as comedic as I felt the cover and blurb suggested. It was quite fun (almost silly) at the begging but became more serious as the book progressed. I'm not certain if this shift in tone was intentional or not.



At the beginning, for example, Kat cuts her hair and this action is used as a way to introduce her family...

“Quite,” Stepmama said. “That is exactly my point. Aren’t you going to ask her how she could do such a thing without even asking your permission?”
Papa said tentatively, “Did you ask my permission, Kat?”


But once magic becomes heavily involved in the story things change rapidly. And charming bits, like the living teacups, are abruptly eliminated. I did find this a little jarring.

And her teacups had shattered. They lay in lifeless, unmoving shards across the carpet before the open cabinet. The same teacups that had tried to brush up against my hands for petting …


That said, I adored Kat's character throughout. She is tough and spunky while staying entirely true to her age. Or so it felt to me, it's been a long time since I was 10. 

“I told you,” I panted. “Do not insult my mother!” I slammed my fist into her nose just as Charles had taught me in his boxing lessons. It made a horrible crunching noise, and it hurt my hand.


Her internal dialogue felt particularly 10-year-old-youngest girl. I loved her observations on society in particular. She reminded me a little of the youngest sister, Margaret Dashwood, as portrayed in Emma Thompson's adaptation of Sense & Sensibility.

I couldn’t take my eyes off them. They were just like birds, but person-shaped.


I also particularly enjoyed Kat's relationship with her two older sisters. It was as troubled and as loving as one might expect of three sisters with very distinct personalities. This is complicated by the fact that each has a very different memory of (and perspective on) their dead mother. Not to mention access to her magical gifts. Again, having no siblings of my own, I can't speak to the truth of the portrayal but it felt authentic.

I scrunched myself into an uncomfortable far corner with my reticule on my lap and tried not to meet my sisters’ eyes as they took their seats across from me.

Angeline took Elissa’s hand and squeezed it, and Elissa rested her head on Angeline’s shoulder. I stared at them both from my corner of the carriage and felt hot prickling behind my eyes. “Oh, Lord,” Angeline said. She sighed and reached across the piled boxes to take my hand, too.


In the end, I found Kat, Incorrigible a quick and pleasing read. I was never jarred or chucked out of the story by a missed edit or a flawed word choice. Kat's voice remained consistent throughout and I gobbled her shenanigans up in the space of one lazy afternoon. I did feel that the magical system was underdeveloped. But I understand from other reviewers that this is improved upon in the second volume. Just FYI there is also a free Kat short story.


I will certainly nip back into Kat's world at some point. I was so tempted by the YA novella that gives Kat her own romance, I bought it to add to my to epically huge reading pile. I want to know how she grows up!


I would specifically recommend Kat, Incorrigible to mothers with kids around Kat's age (or younger if they are advanced readers). I would have loved it at about age 8 or so.

{What is Gail's Book Group reading next? Karen Memory by Elizabeth Bear}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Ladies' Cabinet Date-  Tuesday, August 1, 1837 Item ID-  v. 18, plate 115

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
Dandies on Ice, 1818

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
A history of the necktie

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Three (hopefully) Inspiring Thoughts For 2015 (from my agent)

PROJECT ROUND UP  

Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 available for pre-order! 



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
hopeisaturtle tumblr Soulless Minimalist Posters Ivy


Quote of the Day:
"I wondered how he managed to survive without eating. Was he powered entirely by fashion?"
~ Stephanie Burgis

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

1.26.2015

Rando Ketchup Blarney


Funnily enough, Gentle Reader, the title of this blog was a place holder for over the weekend while I was fiddling with it until I decided I liked it and left it there.

Holding pattern right now while I wait for my M&M edits. I was going to get all started on Imprudence but then I found out that the M&Ms were incoming. I thought their would be no point in beginning Imprudence only to have to stop before I had really gotten started.

via vintage-vs-retro tumblr Dovima in travel, 1956

So I'm taking today and tomorrow to do a fat load of business back log and prep for when I start the Spring of Epic Travel of Epicness. What does this entail? Well, things like readying the newsletter for the end of the month (the prizes are good this time, my darlings, really good); transferring notes and quotes from my various readings; catching up on the social media; coaxing Author Central into some proximity of functionality; tinkering with the website; processing research data; and Dealing With My Phone.

My phone is a putz. No, dears, no, there really is no more genteel way of putting it.

Some people, when a piece of technology dies, they are calm. They think to themselves, "Ah well, this is what happens, things die, programs fail." Some people quietly go to their backups. They reboot with equanimity. Some people heave a heavy sigh an move on with their lives.

I am not one of those people.

When my phone dies it a is a personal affront. The phone HAS BETRAYED ME. 

And that's all I'm going to say about that... cursed little traitorous evil no-better-than-an-ugly-paper-weight piece of doody. Grrrr.


{What is Gail's Book Group reading for January? Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
Portrait of five women Cromer’s Amateur, French, active
1845 - 1855  ca. 1850 daguerreotype via eastmanhouse tumblr

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
1950 Brooch  1950s  1stdibs.com

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
16-Bit Game Controller Doormat at ThinkGeek

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
the-vortexx-tumblr Victorian slang terms you never knew existed


PROJECT ROUND UP  

Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 available for pre-order! 



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
New interview with The Pandora Society.

Quote of the Day:
via Grammarly FB


Like Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.

1.23.2015

Food! Gail's 9 Favorite Dishes, 1864 Etiquette & 1811 Euphemisms


Something a little different today, Gentle Reader. As many of you know I am a bit of a glutton, I love me my food. Hence the reason food always gets into my books. One of my favorite compliments is when someone tells me that reading my book made them hungry.

So I'm a Bay Area girl, born and raised (then escaped and returned multiple times). Here are my 9 favorite things to eat in this area, if you are ever in town. 

  1. Fish tacos from El Caballo Wraps, Alameda
  2. Tea leaf salad, spicy okra and tofu, lamb kabat followed by coconut fritters from Burma Superstar, San Francisco
  3. Roasted pork loin with fontana cheese sandwich with hot chai (no milk) followed by lemon curd potted cake from The Tea Room Cafe, Petaluma
  4. Cod salad with fennel, romaine, and a lemon dressing followed by a flat white with pear polenta upside down cake from Little House, Alameda (sadly no longer on the menu)
  5. Thom yum soup followed by dancing prawns and banana leaf wrapped salmon from Royal Thai, San Rafael
  6. Pulled confit pork with orange, jalapeno, and avocado sandwich and a side salad followed by a latte from Cafe Q, Alameda
  7. Fig champagne cocktail with the full cheese sampler followed by confit duck with new potatoes and arugula salad from Girl & Fig, Sonoma (they no longer do this version of the duck, sadly)
  8. The Bento Box meal with salmon sushi dominating from Balboa Sushi, San Francisco
  9. Fresh OJ with Eggs Alexandra and a massive cinnamon bun (to share) at Los Gatos Cafe, Los Gatos

To "cut the eggs," instead of to beat them. The motion of beating eggs does not cut them. "Braiding eggs," is still worse.
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

1811 Fun Euphemisms Around Food

  • Bow-wow mutton ~ Dog's flesh.
  • Devil's dung ~ Assafoetida.
  • Field lane duck ~ A baked sheep's head.
  • Hasty pudding ~ Oatmeal and milk boiled to a moderate thickness, and eaten with sugar and butter.
  • Rum ruff peck ~ Westphalia ham. http://www.schallerweber.com/product/westphalian-ham/
  • Salmon-gundy ~ Apples, onions, veal or chicken, and pickled herring, minced fine, and eaten with oil and vinegar.
  • Sandwich ~ Ham, died tongue, or some other salted meat, cut thin and put between two slices of bread and butter: said to be a favorite morsel with the Earl of Sandwich.
  • Sweetheart ~ A term applicable to either the masculine of feminine gender, signifying a girl's lover, or a man's mistress: derived from a sweet cake in the shape of a heart.
  • Yarmouth pye ~ A pye made of herrings highly spiced, which the city of Norwich is by charter bound to present annually to the king.
~ 1811 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue 
 


We advise our New-England friends to eschew, both in speaking and writing, all Yankee phrases that do not convey the exact meaning of the words. For instance, to "turn out the tea," instead of to "pour it out."
~ The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864)

  • When eating fish, first remove the bones carefully, and lay them on the edge of your plate. Then with your fork in your right hand, (the concave or hollow side held uppermost,) and a small piece of bread in your left, take up the flakes of fish.
  • Pouring butter-sauce over any thing is now ungenteel.
  • It is an insult to the company, and a disgrace to yourself, to dip into a dish any thing that has been even for a moment in your mouth. To take butter or salt with your own knife is an abomination. There is always a butter-knife and a salt-spoon. It is nearly as bad to take a lump of sugar with your fingers.
  • In fact, nothing should be sucked or gnawed in public; neither corn bitten off from the cob, nor melon nibbled from the rind.
  • Ladies no longer eat salt-fish at a public-table. The odour of it is now considered extremely ungenteel, and it is always very disagreeable to those who do not eat it.
  • Champagne is very insidious; and two glasses may throw her into this pitiable condition.
  • Having unfolded your napkin, secure it to your belt with a pin, to prevent its slipping down from your lap, and falling under the table.
~ Further etiquette advice around food from the The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners or, Miss Leslie's Behaviour Book by Eliza Leslie (American 1864. I bet there are some things following that you didn't know about how to eat like a lady. I was certainly surprised!

{What is Gail's Book Group reading for January? Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis}


GAIL'S DAILY DOSE

Your Moment of Parasol . . .
thehystericalsociety-tumblr Cora Urquart Brown-Potter, American stage actress - c. 1880s

Your Infusion of Cute . . .
backstoryradio tumblr Lantern slides showing movie theater etiquette and announcements, circa 1912.
via Library of Congress. 

Your Tisane of Smart . . .
The mechanical leech, the anti-crime bowtie, and seven other preposterous Victorian inventions

Your Writerly Tinctures . . .  
Convention Tips, Tricks and Guides


PROJECT ROUND UP  

Manners & Mutiny ~ The Finishing School Book the Last Releases November 2015. Not yet available for pre-order. Edits stage.

Prudence ~ Custard Protocol Book the First Release date March 17, 2015 available for pre-order! 



The Books! 

 The Finishing School Series: 1 Etiquette & Espionage, 2 Curtsies & Conspiracies, 3
 The Custard Protocol Series: 1 Prudence (Coming March 17, 2015)
The Parasol Protectorate Series: 1 Soulless, 2 Changeless, 3 Blameless, 4 Heartless, 5 Timeless
Parasol Protectorate Series manga graphic novels

Book News:
Reads 4 Tweens says of Waistcoats & Weaponry, “This is a swashbuckling installment in the always amusing series. Some readers may miss the school and wish for less romantic angst, but overall it’s light and amusing even as the world as they know it is threatened.”

Quote of the Day:
"No man is lonely eating spaghetti; it requires so much attention."
~ Christopher Morley

Follow Gail on Facebook & Twitter. Or you can join her mailing list
She also has a fashion blog ~ Retro Rack.
The best place to talk all things Parasol Protectorate is on its
Facebook Group.