Author Blog Tour Guest Post & Contest: Viola Carr, The Devious Dr. Jekyll

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Viola Carr's author blog tour for The Devious Dr. Jekyll, hosted by Pump Up Your Book tours. Viola has stopped by to discuss steampunk, anachronism and Victorian-era CSIs as well as give away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader of the tour. The Devious Dr. Jekyll is a fun take on the classic Jekyll and Hyde tail starring a female protagonist in a steampunk version of Victorian England. Take it away, Viola!

Steampunk, Anachronism and Victorian-era CSIs

A cool aspect of steampunk (and its many derivatives) is anachronism. It’s alternate history – you can mess with the timeline. Move historical figures and events around, kill someone off or pretend that an important event from 'real history' never happened. Take what you want, and discard the rest.

I love steampunk, and the Victorian era, but I'm only an amateur historian. For me, so long as the writer gets the sense of the period authentic, they can add in whatever they like – zombies, clockwork people, steam-powered airships – and I'll buy into it.

My Electric Empire series centers on Dr. Eliza Jekyll – yes, the daughter of that Jekyll – whom I've invented and transported to the mid-Victorian-era, as a physician and crime scene investigator. Cool, eh? She's a combination of detective, forensic specialist and mad scientist. CSI: Jekyll & Hyde.

Never mind that, in the real 1850s, there was no such thing as a CSI. I've had to alter history quite a bit, in subtle ways.

Firstly, the physicians of the day were notoriously standoffish about getting their hands dirty – as opposed to surgeons, whom physicians sneered at as mere artisans, little better than butchers. Physicians would be more likely to confine themselves to laboratory testing for poisons or illnesses, which more often than not, they got wrong. So the idea of my physician attending a dirty crime scene in person is ahead of its time.

Oh, and qualified female physicians? No such thing in England until 1865, when a formidable lady named Elizabeth Garrett Anderson bullied her way in through the back door, fighting a hostile College of Physicians every step of the way. But never mind. This is steampunk!

I also had to deal with the fact that in the 'real' 1850s, crime scene investigation as we know it today – searching for trace evidence at the scene – hadn't been invented yet. By modern standards, it was appallingly easy to get away with murder.

Locard's Exchange Principle – the now-common concept that 'every contact leaves a trace' – hadn't yet been formulated. And even if it had been, contemporary science was woefully inadequate to the task. There was as yet no test to prove that a stain was blood, or that it was human and not animal. Poisons such as strychnine were undetectable. Of course, no one had ever heard of DNA, or even blood typing.

Autopsies were done on the spot, in poor light and filth, by inexpert people. And much of the common medico-legal wisdom – such as the idea that a murder victim's retina preserved an image of the killer's face, or that if a dead infant's lungs floated in water, it indicated breathing and therefore infanticide rather than stillbirth – were just plain wrong.

On top of that, police procedure was dodgy, too. Crime scenes were routinely contaminated by curious passers-by, who were encouraged to view the gruesome scenes for entertainment. Crucial evidence was lost, misidentified or ignored because no one knew any better. And identifying suspects properly was impossible, without fingerprinting or a proper filing system for photographic records.

With all these limitations, a real Victorian CSI wasn't left with much to do! Luckily, steampunk and weird science have come to my rescue. Eliza Jekyll has all manner of improbable gadgets: portable electric lights, bottles of special solution, an array of fantastic lenses and sensors that perform feats of detection that are scientifically impossible without a little magic. She reaches conclusions about crime scene evidence that her real-world contemporaries could not.

But hey, it's steampunk! We can suspend a little disbelief here. And in a world where Dr. Jekyll's potion is real and actually works, sinister brass automatons stalk the streets, and the electric underground train has been invented forty years before its time… well, it'd be stranger if forensics didn't happen.

Enter to Win a $25 Gift Card!

Terms & Conditions:

  • By entering the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one $25 Gift Certificate to the e-retailer of your choice
  • This giveaway begins October 26 and ends on November 13.
  • Winners will be contacted via email on November 1.
  • Winner has 48 hours to reply.
  • Good luck everyone!

The Devious Dr. Jekyll
Viola Carr

Release Date: October 27, 2015
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Paranormal/Fantasy/Steampunk
Format: Ebook/Paperback/Audible 

Find It on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Dr. Eliza Jekyll, heroine of the electrifying The Diabolical Miss Hyde—an edgy steampunk retelling of the classic Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde—investigates a bizarre murder case in an alternate Victorian London while battling her treacherous secret half: Lizzie Hyde.
Solving the infamous Chopper case has helped crime scene physician Dr. Eliza Jekyll establish her fledgling career in the chauvinistic world of Victorian law enforcement. But the scrutiny that comes with her newfound fame is unwelcome for a woman with a diabolical secret. And there is the mercurial Royal Society agent and wolf man Remy Lafayette. Does he want to marry her, eat her, or burn her at the stake? Though Eliza is uncertain about Remy, her dark and jealous shadow self, Lizzie, wants to steal the magnetic and persistent agent, and usurp Eliza’s life.
It’s impossible to push Remy away when he tempts her with the one thing she can’t resist: a bizarre crime. The search for a bloodthirsty ritual torturer dubbed the Pentacle Killer draws them into a terrifying world of spies, art thieves, and evil alchemy, where the price of immortality is madness—or damnation—and only Lizzie’s dark ingenuity can help Eliza survive.
As Eliza and Remy race to thwart a foul conspiracy involving the sorcerous French, they must also overcome a sinister enemy who is all too close: the vengeful Lizzie, determined to dispose of Eliza for good.

About the Author:

Viola Carr was born in Australia, but wandered into darkest London one foggy October evening and never found her way out. She now devours countless history books and dictates fantastical novels by gaslight, accompanied by classical music and the snoring of her slumbering cat. She loves history, and pops down to London’s many historical sites whenever she gets the chance.  She likes steampunk, and thought it would be cool to investigate wacky crimes with crazy gadgets…just so long as her heroine was the creator of said wacky gadgets: a tinkerer, edgy, with a dash of mad scientist. Readers can follow her on twitter at @viola_carr  and online at http://www.violacarr.com.

For More Information
Visit Viola’s website.
Connect with Viola on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest

 

Visit Other Stops on The Devious Dr. Jekyll Tour!

 October 26

Guest blogging at Tez Says

Book featured at 3 Partners in Sh0pping

 

October 27

Book featured at What is That Book About

Book featured at Teatime and Books

 

October 28

Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish

Book featured at Angel’s Guilty Pleasures

 

October 29

Interviewed at The Cosy Dragon

Book featured at Kristy Centeno

 

October 30

Book featured at Harmonious Publicity

Guest blogging at The Romantic World of Leigh Anderson

 

November 2

Book featured at Mikky’s World of Books

Book featured at Celticlady’s Reviews

 

November 3

Book featured at Kayl’s Crazy Obsession

Guest blogging at Working for the Mandroid

 

November 4

Book featured at Around the World in Books

Book featured at Lisa’s Louisiana Home

 

November 5

Book featured at Crystal’s Chaotic Confessions

Book featured at Curling Up by the Fire

 

November 6

Book featured at Sapphyria’s Book Reviews

 

November 8

Book reviewed at Rhi Reading

 

November 9

Guest blogging at One Book Shy of a Full Shelf

Book reviewed at Doing Some Reading

 

November 10

Book reviewed at Here’s to Happy Endings

Book reviewed at Words I Write Crazy

 

November 11

Book reviewed at Book Him Danno

Book reviewed at Worth Getting in Bed For

 

November 12

Book featured at Chosen By you Book Club

Interviewed at Urban Fantasy Investigations

Book reviewed at Reader Girls

 

November 13

Book featured at Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews

Book reviewed at Moonlight Rendezvous

Book featured at Dawn’s Reading Nook

Mini Review: The Fall by Bethany Griffin

The Fall
Bethany Griffin

Greenwillow Books
I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Released October 7, 2014
400 pages
YA / Horror / Retellings

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Madeline Usher is doomed.

She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin.

Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house.

In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down? The Fall is a literary psychological thriller, reimagining Edgar Allan Poe’s classic The Fall of the House of Usher.

I think I read The Fall of the House of Usher back in high school, but that was so long ago that I couldn’t tell you many details about it. So while I can’t speak to how The Fall is as an adaptation or reimagining of that classic horror story, I can say that it is a fascinating story all on its own. It bounces back and forth over the years of Madeline Usher’s doomed life. At the start of the book, we see her inevitable fate only to bounce back to her at the age of 9 to see how everything fell apart.

Madeline and her twin brother are the latest in the Usher line, a family long ago cursed to live in a decrepit mansion that haunts their every moment. The house has taken a particular interest in Madeline, declaring her the heir to the family’s curse. She watches as her parents quickly lose their mental faculties and watches as her twin brother is sent away in an attempt to save his sanity. All the while Madeline grows up with the house being equal parts protector and tormentor.

From the first page to the last, The Fall maintains a solid creepy tone with ghosts haunting every page (sometimes quite literally). Griffin has a deft hand at atmospheric writing that left me constantly looking over my shoulder in fear that one of her ghosts would pop up behind me. The chapters are broken up into tiny pieces, often lasting no more than three pages, so this book reads incredibly quickly and ended much faster than I would have thought its 400 pages would have warranted.

The ending is a little muddled to me – and I mean, literally, the ending as in the last two or three pages. Perhaps if I remembered more of the original story, it would have been a clearer ending, but despite that one slip up, The Fall was a very satisfying read.

While it can easily classify as a horror novel, it’s of the old-school variety without all the gore and violence that is common of more modern horror novels. Griffin has written an extremely fast-paced and intrigue suspense story with a female protagonist fighting her fate to become something more than what outside forces will allow her to be. This is a great read building up to Halloween if you’re looking for a more old-school type of scare.

 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Review: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy Must Die
Danielle Paige

HarperCollins
Released April 1, 2014
464 pages
YA / Fantasy / Twisted Classic Stories

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked, and I've been given a mission:

REMOVE

The Tin Woodman's heart,

STEAL

The Scarecrow's brain,

TAKE

The Lion's courage,

And then—

DOROTHY MUST DIE.

I can only imagine the look I had on my face as I zipped through Danielle Paige’s Dorothy Must Die. It would have been something between “I’m not sure I like this.” and “What am I even reading?” It turned out to be one of those books that, while I rated it four stars after reading it, it lost some of its luster as time passed. Now that I’m a few weeks away from having read it and my book club has had their monthly discussion about it, I’m kind of indifferent to the whole thing. Let’s see if we can try to figure out why.

Dorothy Must Die is a continuation of The Wizard of Oz in a way. It follows Amy Gumm, a down on her luck girl from Kansas, whose life can’t get any worse. Then she finds herself caught in a tornado and ends up in a desolated Oz, a place where magic is being mined for the dictator-ish Dorothy. See, Dorothy returned to Oz and went a little wrong in the head. Now she wears slutty versions of blue gingham dresses and tortures anyone that remotely gets on her bad side. Meanwhile a group of witches are trying to rid Oz of Dorothy for the good of the people. Amy gets roped into this battle and finds herself in some precarious situations after given the task of killing Dorothy.

Some could consider what lies ahead to be some vague spoilers. You’ve been warned.

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Review: The Island of Excess Love by Francesca Lia Block

The Island of Excess Love
Francesca Lia Block

Henry Holt & Co.
I received an ARC of this book from the publisher.
Released August 26, 2014
224 pages
YA / Fantasy / Post-Apocalyptic

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Pen has lost her parents. She’s lost her eye. But she has fought Kronen; she has won back her fragile friends and her beloved brother. Now Pen, Hex, Ash, Ez, and Venice are living in the pink house by the sea, getting by on hard work, companionship, and dreams. Until the day a foreboding ship appears in the harbor across from their home. As soon as the ship arrives, they all start having strange visions of destruction and violence. Trance-like, they head for the ship and their new battles begin.

This companion to Love in the Time of Global Warming follows Pen as she searches for love among the ruins, this time using Virgil’s epic Aeneid as her guide. A powerful and stunning book filled with Francesca Lia Block’s beautiful language and inspiring characters.

A few weeks ago I gushed about Love in the Time of Global Warming, the first book in this classic-inspired series of post-apocalyptic romance novels. It was a bit of a home coming of sorts a decade after Francesca Lia Block’s fiction had acted as a life preserver in my teenage years. I was eager to get to the second volume of the series, but I also didn’t want the experience of Block’s magical realism-filled poetic prose to be finished for the foreseeable future. So I read some other books in between, but none of them left the same dazed feeling of being truly transplanted completely to another place as Love in the Time of Global Warming did.

So when I finally picked up the sequel last week, I may have had my expectations set a little higher than I had when I read the first in the series a few weeks ago. While I wasn’t as captivated by The Island of Excess Love, I still had a difficult time pulling myself out of Block’s post-apocalyptic world of giants and illusion. This volume is based very loosely on The Aeneid and Pen as the narrator points out that, while Time of Global Warming paralleled The Odyssey near perfectly, this part of the story can at most be said to be “inspired” by the events of Aeneas and his followers.

---Slight spoilers for Love in the Time of Global Warming ahead---

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Cover Reveal & CONTEST: Queen of Zombie Hearts by Gena Showalter

I have a confession. I've never read any of the books in Gena Showalter's The White Rabbit Chronicles. That's not because I haven't wanted to, just that a copy of Alice in Zombieland just hasn't landed in my hands yet. I've been a huge fan of the covers for this series and today I'm getting to take part in the cover reveal for the third and final book in the series, The Queen of Zombie Hearts. I have to say, I think this one is best by far. Also stick around to the end of the post for a chance to find a full set of The White Rabbit Chronicles thanks to Gena!

I mean, seriously, that's really cool, right? If you're not familiar with the series, here are the covers of the first two books, Alice in Zombieland and Through the Zombie Glass.

  

 

The Queen of Zombie Hearts
Gena Showalter

Harlequin Teen
Releases September 30, 2014
Official White Rabbit Chronicles website

Add it to your TBR!  Goodreads

Pre-order your copy! AmazonBarnes & Noble

I have a plan.

We'll either destroy them for good, or they'll destroy us.

Either way, only one of us is walking away.

In the stunning conclusion to the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, Alice "Ali" Bell thinks the worst is behind her. She's ready to take the next step with boyfriend Cole Holland, the leader of the zombie slayers…until Anima Industries, the agency controlling the zombies, launches a sneak attack, killing four of her friends. It's then she realizes that humans can be more dangerous than monsters…and the worst has only begun.

As the surviving slayers prepare for war, Ali discovers she, too, can control the zombies…and she isn't the girl she thought she was. She's connected to the woman responsible for killing—and turning—Cole's mother. How can their relationship endure? As secrets come to light, and more slayers are taken or killed, Ali will fight harder than ever to bring down Anima—even sacrificing her own life for those she loves.

 

About Gena:

Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of the wildly popular White Rabbit Chronicles, the Angels of the Dark, the Lords of the Underworld, and the Otherworld Assassins series.  In addition to being a National Reader's Choice and RITA nominee, her romance novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan and Seventeen magazine, and have been translated in multiple languages.  She lives in Oklahoma with her family and menagerie of dogs, and truly believes love conquers all.

 

Website/Twitter/Facebook/The White Rabbit Chronicles Facebook

 

Giveaway Details:

1 complete set of The White Rabbit Chronicles (first 2 sent as soon as the giveaway is over and the winner will get the first hardcover of book 3 when it's available!) US/Canada Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Author Blog Tour Excerp: Such Sweet Sorrow by Jenny Trout

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop for Jenny Trout's blog tour for Such Sweet Sorrow hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. I am super excited to be hosting an excerpt from Jenny's very interesting take on the classic Romeo & Juliet, which comes out TODAY! Happy book birthday to Jenny and Such Sweet Sorrow. Celebrate by reading this short excerpt and enter to win copies of the book below as well as a couple movie versions of Romeo & Juliet.

 

Excerpt from Such Sweet Sorrow

"How the hell would you help me?" It was wrong to speak to a prince that way, Romeo knew well enough. The prince of Verona would have had him flogged for such impudence. But they had come so far, and for nothing. All the while Juliet was trapped in a dark and lonely death. They stood at the seat of a dead king, as the witch had told them, and still they'd received no answers. Now this spoiled, heartless cur was making a game of his quest?

A change came over Hamlet's features. A moment before, he'd been a spoiled, irreverent boy. Now, he looked a dangerous man, with dangerous thoughts and the wealth and status to back them up. Instantly, Romeo wished he had not spoken so rashly.

Though he expected that the prince's next words would be something like, "take him to the dungeon," instead, Hamlet gestured to a chair piled high with books. At once, Horatio swept them onto the floor, and Hamlet lifted his chin, saying, "I have been rude. Please, sit down, Romeo. I would like you to tell my friend Horatio the tale you told me last night.”

 

About the Book

Such Sweet Sorrow
Jenny Trout

Entangled Teen
Released February 4, 2014 (TODAY!)
304 pages

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble

Never was there a tale of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo…But true love never dies. Though they’re parted by the veil between the world of mortals and the land of the dead, Romeo believes he can restore Juliet to life, but he’ll have to travel to the underworld with a thoroughly infuriating guide.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, may not have inherited his father’s crown, but the murdered king left his son a much more important responsibility—a portal to the Afterjord, where the souls of the dead reside. When the determined Romeo asks for help traversing the treacherous Afterjord, Hamlet sees an opportunity for adventure, and the chance to avenge his father’s death.

In an underworld filled with leviathan monsters, ghoulish shades, fire giants and fierce Valkyrie warriors, Hamlet and Romeo must battle their way through jealousy, despair, and their darkest fears to rescue the fair damsel. Yet finding Juliet is only the beginning, and the Afterjord doesn’t surrender souls without a price…

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Review: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepherd

Her Dark Curiosity
Megan Shepherd

Balzer + Bray
I received an ARC from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Released on January 28, 2014
420 pages
YA / Classic Retellings / Scifi / Mad Scientists

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

To defeat the darkness, she must first embrace it.

Months have passed since Juliet Moreau returned to civilization after escaping her father's island—and the secrets she left behind. Now, back in London once more, she is rebuilding the life she once knew and trying to forget Dr. Moreau’s horrific legacy—though someone, or something, hasn’t forgotten her.

As people close to Juliet fall victim one by one to a murderer who leaves a macabre calling card of three clawlike slashes, Juliet fears one of her father’s creations may have also escaped the island. She is determined to find the killer before Scotland Yard does, though it means awakening sides of herself she had thought long banished, and facing loves from her past she never expected to see again.

As Juliet strives to stop a killer while searching for a serum to cure her own worsening illness, she finds herself once more in the midst of a world of scandal and danger. Her heart torn in two, past bubbling to the surface, life threatened by an obsessive killer—Juliet will be lucky to escape alive.

With inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, this is a tantalizing mystery about the hidden natures of those we love and how far we’ll go to save them from themselves.

I like when I get the chance to read a sequel back to back with the prior book because I go in remembering who all the people are and their relationships to each other. I don’t have to fumble around for a few chapters trying to piece together what has already happened and how it fits into a new story that may happen months or years later. I think having that knowledge still fresh in my mind helped me enjoy Her Dark Curiosity a little more than if I’d been left trying to remember pieces of the previous book from a reading months before.

SPOILERS FOR THE MADMAN’S DAUGHTER AHEAD

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