Quotations from Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare

If this were a made-up story, it would begin at night, with a storm blowing and owls hooting and rattling noises under the bed.


You stole from a member of the undead.

Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare

I read Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare in just a few hours. Before I discuss my thoughts on the book, I should point out that I am the right demographic for this book. I am not a 12-year-old boy. Okay, with that said, I did not like this book. First, I thought the writing was a bit stiff and the sentences were a bit blunt. This might not be so noticeable for the intended target audience. Something else that bothered me about the writing was how big words were introduced in the text: a character would say a big word and another character would ask for a definition. Now, in the Lemony Snicket series A Series of Unfortunate Events, this format is also used. Specifically, Lemony Snicket uses a word and defines it himself. This format seemed more fluid and worked better in that series than in CdF: A Living Nightmare. I feel this way because I don't feel kids would ask their friends to define words and I don't think the kids would define words in such a dictionary-type way. The second reason that I did not care for this book is I did not like how the children in this book constantly hid information from their parents. Even when the kids were in danger, they were open with their parents. This is not a behavior I would want to encourage in my children. I am typically fine with adults being ridiculous in children's books (a la A Series of Unfortunate Events and the Harry Potter books). However, in this series, the parents weren't ridiculous; the kids should have confided in them. In books that are not supposed to be set in "the real world," I am cool with the kids going out and having adventures. This book, however, is urban fantasy. In my mind, urban fantasy books shouldn't trail so far away from reality. The behaviors the kids engaged in were not behaviors I would want them to engage in in real life. I don't want my kids sneaking out and seeing a freak show, I don't want my kids stealing spiders, especially poisonous ones, and I don't want my kids lying to me about how their friends were injured. I think I may have been more okay with these actions, if they were not happening in an urban fantasy setting. I should also note that I may have been more okay with these actions, if the reasons for them was more than "just because."

The long and short of this review is that I did not enjoy the book. I may read the rest of the series, because they are quick reads; however, these are not books that I would encourage my kids to read. Now, if your kids read the books and are okay with it or you read the books that is totally cool. Reading is important and if the CdF series is the only one that they will read, so be it. For me, this will not be a series that I will be exciting to get for my future children's bookshelves.

Hyperion Information

Here is some information on Hyperion:

Hyperion Quotations

But as long as the task is both onerous and repetitive, I discovered, the mind is not only free to wander to more imaginative climes, it actually flees to higher planes.

Hyperion Review

I just finished Hyperion, and surprisingly I loved it. Scifi books that take place primarily in space are normally not my cup of tea; however, this book was great. It follows the format of The Canterbury Tales with a frame story and each chapter having one of the characters tell his/her own story. You could theoretically read each of the stories alone, but it is all of them together that explains the tale of Hyperion and the Shrike. I wish that I had an annotated version of this book, because the literary references litter every single page. I feel like if I reread this book after reading all of the literary references in this book, my mind would be blown. I do have one word of warning though. The book ends on a major cliffhanger, so if you start the book and decide it is your cup of tea (apparently this book is somewhat polarizing on who likes it and who doesn't), have The Fall of Hyperion at the ready. 

Like most of the books I read right now, the Sword and Laser show (Geek & Sundry youtube channel) used this book in their monthly book club and discuss it on their show.

More Info on the Parasol Protectorate

Fun & Games with the Parasol Protectorate

Soulless Paper Doll

Parasol Protectorate Quotations

“He is clearly bookish. I did not follow a single word of their conversation at dinner last night, not one jot of it. He must be bookish.”

“A man was attacking me with a wet handkerchief.”

“Ivy Hisselpenny was the unfortunate victim of circumstances that dictated she be only-just-pretty, only-just-wealthy, and possessed of a terrible propensity for wearing extremely silly hats.”

Parasol Protectorate Review

The Parasol Protectorate consists of four books. Below are reviews on the four books. Please keep in mind that there are spoilers in the reviews!

This book was so much fun. It is some sort of combination of The Enchanted Forest Chronicles and a Johanna Lindsey novel. In other words, fun fantasy (in the order of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts) and "sexy times." The book is perfect if you are looking for a fantasy-romance book on a dark and stormy night. Oh, did I mention it is steampunk too? That's right, alternative history where the supernatural are living among us out in the open. It is a grand old time. I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

This was another enjoyable little read by Gail Carriger. I was a little concerned that the second book in the series would be a let down after the first; however, this book also provided a grand old mystery. I was a bit disappointed that this book didn't wrap up all the loose ends and that the book ended on quite a large cliffhanger! I get the impression that the first book was so popular that she was offered a series deal and that is why the first book wraps up so nicely and this one (blasted all!) has a cliffhanger. I should explain that the first two books were available in e-book form from my library, but I need to interlibrary loan request the last three in the series, so I am frustrated that I am going to be hanging off this cliff for a while! 

With all of that said, I enjoyed meeting the new characters and getting better acquainted with those that we met in the first book. There was very "sexy times" in this book in comparison to the second one, but I would still call this a fantasy-romance novel versus just a fantasy novel. I must admit that I was frustrated with how the book ended, because I felt that a particular character was acting out of character, but I can appreciate this being a way to open up the third book in the series, Blameless. My best recommendation for someone who is reading this book is MAKE SURE YOU HAVE THE REST OF THE SERIES ON STANDBY!

Just finished another adventure with Alexia and the gang. I really enjoy these little adventures with werewolves, vampires, ghosts, soulless, and dirigibles. This adventure found Alexia on her own (and her band of merry adventurers) in Italy trying to figure out how she was able to become pregnant with her werewolf husband's child. I must admit that I didn't really follow the explanation of too much soul, too little soul, and how one measure's souls. (These things are important for understanding how a soulless individual can become pregnant by someone who is dead [e.g., werewolf, vampire, or ghost].) Oh well, I figure that there are two more books in the series and I will figure things out then. Because Lord Maccon wasn't in this book as much, the book was much more fantasy-focused than romance/fantasy-focused. Although I continue to enjoy these books, Lord Maccon's bullying ways is starting to tire me. If Alexia was my friend, I would not stand for her husband to be yelling at her as he does. I don't care, if she is "just as feisty as he is." This is not a healthy relationship. Of course, the antagonistic but romantic relationship always seems to work in romance novels.

I am coming to a close with the Parasol Protectorate. As always, this book was a quick read and lots of fun. I do feel, however, that each book ends with more loose strings than the last. I wonder if Gail Carriger did that with intention or not. I do hope that everything gets tidied up in the last book. Gail Carriger is at work on a companion series that I imagine is about Alexia's daughter, so I am sure that the book will not wrap up completely. However, I would like to end the series feeling like the characters' issues were resolved.

Alexia Maccon's adventures have come to an end. I must admit that I enjoyed this series very much; however, I found the latter books to be missing some of the spark that Soulless had. With that said, I thoroughly enjoyed the series until the very last page. Everything was relatively neatly tied up in the end. Gail Carriger is working on a new series that appears to involve Alexia's daughter Prudence, so I am excited to find out how Alexia carries on after her adventuring days end. 

My main gripe about this series is that it started as romance/fantasy and slowly yet surely ended as a fantasy series. Now I greatly enjoyed the series as a fantasy series; however, the first book seemed to make certain promises in regards to the romance arena and those promises were swiftly broken come the second book (and even more so in the latter books). Outside of this gripe, the book series was fun.

Other People's Reviews of Poison Study

Here is the Vaginal Fantasy book club episode discussing Poison Study...

Quotations from Poison Study

“Everyone makes choices in life. Some bad, some good. It's called living, and if you want to bow out, then go right ahead. But don't do it halfway. Don't linger in whiner's limbo.”


“I peered deeper and found my soul. A little tattered and with some holes, but there all the same. It had always been there, I realized with shock.”

Poison Study Review

I read Poison Study for the Vaginal Fantasies book club (on Goodreads and on the Geek & Sundry youtube channel). The book club is a romance novel book club; however, I really would classify this book as fantasy over romance. The romance really takes a back seat to the adventure. Anyway, it was a fun book. The protagonist is the food taster for the country's leader. She makes sure that the Commander doesn't get poisoned. Overall, it was a fun adventure. I liked the characters, and the plot was entertaining. This book is the first in a trilogy; however, I am not so enamored with the book that I want to continue with the series. I think this is mainly, because I thought I was getting a romance novel and got a fantasy adventure instead. Bait and switch! Also, reader reviews suggest that the later books aren't as much fun.

Information on The Magician King

Information on The Magician King...

Sunday Book Review
NPR Review

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