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.

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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

Review: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Boneshaker
Cherie Priest

Tor Books
Released September 29, 2009
416 pages
Steampunk / Sci Fi

Find it on Goodread

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

In the early days of the Civil War, rumors of gold in the frozen Klondike brought hordes of newcomers to the Pacific Northwest. Anxious to compete, Russian prospectors commissioned inventor Leviticus Blue to create a great machine that could mine through Alaska’s ice. Thus was Dr. Blue’s Incredible Bone-Shaking Drill Engine born.

But on its first test run the Boneshaker went terribly awry, destroying several blocks of downtown Seattle and unearthing a subterranean vein of blight gas that turned anyone who breathed it into the living dead.

Now it is sixteen years later, and a wall has been built to enclose the devastated and toxic city. Just beyond it lives Blue’s widow, Briar Wilkes. Life is hard with a ruined reputation and a teenaged boy to support, but she and Ezekiel are managing. Until Ezekiel undertakes a secret crusade to rewrite history.

His quest will take him under the wall and into a city teeming with ravenous undead, air pirates, criminal overlords, and heavily armed refugees. And only Briar can bring him out alive.

This is going to be one of those reviews that are the hardest for me to write. Writing reviews for books I loved or hated are easy. Word spill out like water and I tend to have to hold myself back so I don’t end up with five pages of ranting. It’s the books that, once finished and the final pages are turned, I say to myself, “Huh. That was fine.”

Boneshaker is fine. It often suffers from Fellowship of the Rings syndrome, where the characters spend more time walking the landscape than actually doing something, but the steampunk Seattle is an interesting place to explore. There just wasn’t a whole lot for me to grab onto and love, so that I was left feeling like I might be reading this book out of duty towards the steampunk genre I love instead of because the narrative made me want to finish it.

Briar Wilkes has had a hard life. She is a tough woman raising a son after her scientist of a husband destroyed Seattle and started a zombie plague. Now 15-years-old and questioning the world, her son Ezekiel gets the brilliant idea to go into the zombie-filled city to prove that his father wasn’t the scheming criminal the entire world thinks he was. Of course Briar has to follow him in because she’s a good mother with a rifle and a gas mask.

I really like Briar. She fits into the western-esque nature of this world with a lot of grit and gumption. She is not afraid to do what needs to be done and won’t take nonsense from anyone just because she’s a woman. The underground world of zombie-Seattle is very much a Wild, Wild West sort of place with saloons and maniacal gang leaders and shoot outs and an illegal drug ring. There just happens to be a bunch of dead people trying to eat you at the same time.

Ezekiel is a teenage boy who thinks he knows enough about the world to understand how it works when he really doesn’t. Priest stays true to that nature and Zeke regularly messes things up and gets into plenty of danger. While I’m not a fan of him per se, I can respect the character she created because he’s very much true to what a 15-year-old boy would be like.

The steampunk elements are spread out pretty evenly and, outside the premise of the Boneshaker machine, are relegated to airships and weapons. There aren’t many out-there gadgets. Like I said, it feels more Wild West just with a few weapon mods. I could have used a little less gas mask description though.

But mostly the book suffers from walkabout syndrome with both Briar and Ezekiel’s stories mainly being about walking through plague-ridden Seattle trying to find what they’re looking for. The action sequences are all about running through tunnels, finding staircases, dealing with sealed doors and those sorts of things. Other than a mystery surrounding the true identity of the evil Professor Minnericht, the plot is regulated to “Will Briar find Ezekiel before they both get eaten by zombies?”

I guess I wanted more from this book. The cover is super cool and Boneshaker has become kind of a modern steampunk touch point, so I expected more excitement, more plotting, more something. I don’t think I’ll dive much further into this series when I have others that could entertain me more.

Author Blog Tour Review & CONTEST: Strange & Ever After by Susan Dennard

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Susan Dennard's blog tour for Strange & Ever After, the last volume in her fantabulous Something Strange & Deadly series. You can see all the stops on the tour over here. I am so excited to be a part of this tour because this series has been one of my favorites in the last few years. It's full of adventure and romance and steampunk zombie goodness. I was both excited and sad to have the final volume in my hand.

Susan is hosting a great contest to win a copy of Strange & Ever After, which you can enter later on in the post. First my review.

Strange & Ever After
Susan Dennard

HarperTeen
Releases July 22, 2014
400 pages
YA / Steampunk / Zombies!

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Book Depository | Kobo

In the conclusion to the trilogy that Publishers Weekly called “a roaring—and addictive—gothic world,” Eleanor Fitt must control her growing power, face her feelings for Daniel, and confront the evil necromancer Marcus...all before it’s too late.

He took her brother, he took her mother, and now, Marcus has taken her good friend Jie. With more determination than ever to bring this sinister man to justice, Eleanor heads to the hot desert streets of nineteenth-century Egypt in hopes of ending this nightmare. But in addition to her increasingly tense relationships with Daniel, Joseph, and her demon, Oliver, Eleanor must also deal with her former friend, Allison, who has curiously entangled herself in Eleanor’s mission.

With the rising dead chomping at her every move and Jie’s life hanging in the balance, Eleanor is convinced that her black magic will see her through to the bitter end. But there will be a price. Though she and the Spirit Hunters have weathered every battle thus far, there will be consequences to suffer this time—the effects of which will be irreversible. And when it’s over, only some will be able to live a strange and ever after.

Susan Dennard will leave readers breathless and forever changed in the concluding pages of this riveting ride. 

It’s been a week since I finished this book and I still have difficulty putting my reaction to this final volume in Susan Dennard’s Something Strange & Deadly series into words. I mean, this is what I looked like when I finished the book far past my bedtime, thankful that Fernando had gone to bed early:

It was a perfect ending and I hated it. I hated that the Victorian zombie fighters have no adventures for me to tag along with. I was very unhappy with the body count by the final page. I was so wrapped up in these characters, in this series that it was like a part of me has been ripped away and now I’m left wondering, “What now?”

So in short – this book is fantastic. It’s action from nearly beginning to end. There are some key Eleanor/Daniel scenes that made me stupid giddy so that I wrote incomprehensible messages to the author on Twitter. Even the slower moments of the story were full of so much potential, so much build up to what was to come, that I couldn’t relax. This book took me to France and to Egypt and refused to let me go home until it was done with me.

I want to be Eleanor when I grow up. I want to be so completely head-strong and, while not confident, determined to do what needs to be done that I look at danger and then run head first into it. I want someone as rakishly handsome as Daniel to rescue me from a horde of zombies. I even started liking Oliver by the end, though his mood swings were out of control at points.

This book is full of zombies, gizmos, mummies and ancient Egyptian artifacts. Eleanor is bursting with secrets that she feels she can’t share with the others because they frown on her magic, only to have to save them with that same magic when the zombie force becomes too much. It’s adventure and comedy and drama and just a whole lot of amazingness within a couple hundred pages.

This is a series I will easily be able to come back to over and over again to revisit old friends. Dennard’s writing seems so effortless, moving from these giant action scenes with vast scenery to the quiet moments with two people in a room together on an airship high in the sky. I have no idea what she plans on doing next, but I will follow her wherever she intends to go. She is officially on my “Must Read” list.

 

Enter to Win a Copy of Strange & Ever After from Susan!

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About the Author

I am a writer, reader, lover of animals, and eater of cookies. I used to be a marine biologist, but now I write novels. And not novels about fish either, but novels about kick-butt heroines and swoon-worthy rogues (I really like swoon-worthy rogues).

I live in the Midwest with my husband and two dogs (Asimov and Princess Leia), and you can learn more about my crazy thoughts and crippling cookie-addiction on my blog or twitter.

My debut, SOMETHING STRANGE AND DEADLY is now available from HarperTeen along with the prequel, A DAWN MOST WICKED, and the sequel A DARKNESS STRANGE & LOVELY.

Look for STRANGE & EVER AFTER in summer 2014 and TRUTHWITCH in fall 2015!

Note: I am on Goodreads to READ. So, if you want to discuss books and the joys of literature, add me as a friend.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Pinterest | Youtube

Waiting on Wednesday: The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Breaking the Spine and serves to showcase those books we’re not so patiently waiting to arrive!

The Inventor's Secret
Andrea Cremer

Philomel
Releases April 22, 2014
336 pages

Find it on Goodreads

Preorder from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indie Bound

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape from the coastal cities or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.

The Inventor’s Secret is the first book of a YA steampunk series set in an alternate nineteenth-century North America where the Revolutionary War never took place and the British Empire has expanded into a global juggernaut propelled by marvelous and horrible machinery.

GADGETS! I'm judging this book on its cover because nothing much about the description screams steampunk except that it's called steampunk towards the end. Alt-history is always fun, especially when it's an alternate version of something other than the Civil War or one of the World Wars. I want this to have lots of gadgets and gizmos and snarky banter. That's what I want in all my books though...

Random Tuesday Returns and Everything Is Awesome (Except for Mean Comic Book Workers)

Is it possible? Has Random Tuesday finally returned? Are you about to get a face full of random things? Why, yes, you are. But first, have an ear worm.

You're welcome.

Noelle Stevenson, aka Gingerhaze, is one of my favorite fan artists, except now she's not just a fan artist, but a real comic creator. She created a short comic yesterday about her time visiting a comic book store that didn't go so well. Luckily we're priviledged to have Austin Books & Comics within a short drive, a comic book store staffed with incredibly generous and knowledgable staff of men and women. I have, however, had less pleasant experiences at other shops in the area, occassionally feeling like I was an alien that had stumbled upon a hidden secret planet where I DID NOT BELONG.

Of course said comic then led to some priviledged asshats coming out of the dark cobwebbed areas of the internet to be even more priviledged and more asshatty (totally a word). The formatting on that Tumblr post is a little messed up, so it's difficult to find where the writer changes, but it doesn't really matter.

So yes, drama on the internet. That's new. If you're looking for a female-friendly comic book store in your area, this Tumblr called Hater Free Wednesdays has a list of shops to check out.

But this isn't random enough. We NEED MORE RANDOM!

io9 has a sneak peak of a Game of Thrones art show that's going to be in Seattle in March. You can several of the GOT inspired pieces here.

Speaking of GOT exhibits, there is a HBO sponsored exhibit of pieces from the show going to several places around the global, including our hometown of Austin. Fernando is excited, but I have no idea how this is going to work with South by Southwest happening at the same time. Bets on if Ned's head will be included?

Between his Facebook and Twitter, Stephen Amell is quickly becoming my new favorite celebrity. I mean, seriously, this guy...

 

 

 

Marissa Meyer released a short story based on The Little Mermaid to celebrate the release of Cress, her third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. If you haven't read these books yet, stop what you're doing and go get them.

Lots of people are getting cast for the Flash pilot. I can't even begin to explain how excited about this series and have all my fingers and toes crossed that it happens. (found via TheMarySue.com)

Speaking of possible new television series, a lot of people are getting cast for Gotham as well. I have no idea how this is going to be a television show, but I'm game. (found via EW.com)

And finally, have steampunk Batgirl by Mahmud Asrar. You can find more of his work at his Deviant Art profile.

Author Blog Tour Review: A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard

Back in January I read a book that left me giddy and squealing on Facebook with glee. Ever since I've been trying to get my hands on the sequel, so when Rockstar Books Tours announced they were hosting the blog tour for A Darkness Strange & Lovely by Susan Dennard, the sequel to Something Strange & Deadly, I knew I had to do anything to be part of it. So welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Ms. Dennard's blog tour for the second book in her Victorian era zombie steampunk adventure series. Below you will find a review of this second book as well as a contest to win your very own copy to squeal over.

A Darkness Strange & Lovely
Susan Dennard

HarperTeen
Released on July 23, 2013
416 pages
YA / Zombies / Steampunk

Find it on Goodreads

Purchase it from Amazon

Following an all-out battle with the walking Dead, the Spirit Hunters have fled Philadelphia, leaving Eleanor alone to cope with the devastating aftermath. But there’s more trouble ahead—the evil necromancer Marcus has returned, and his diabolical advances have Eleanor escaping to Paris to seek the help of Joseph, Jie, and the infuriatingly handsome Daniel once again. When she arrives, however, she finds a whole new darkness lurking in this City of Light. As harrowing events unfold, Eleanor is forced to make a deadly decision that will mean life or death for everyone.

I came to Something Strange and Deadly a little late in the game, having only picked it up in January after its beautiful cover haunted me from all corners of the interwebs and more than one reader suggested I pick it up. Zombies in a Victorian era Philadelphia with a charming and rakish inventor that has a love/hate relationship with a smart high society girl? It had all the elements that I wasn’t surprised that I loved it, only how much it left me flailing for more when it was over. My crush on Daniel snuck up on me and gave Bram (from my other Victorian-ish zombie series) a run for his money. So of course I was ever so eager to participate in the blog tour for the sequel, anything to get my hands on more Daniel, more zombie shenanigans, more Eleanor stumbling her way into trouble only to fight her way back out.

And Dennard does not disappoint. The charm and humor that made Something Strange and Deadly so entertaining and unique in a flood of zombie genre mash ups is on every page while a steady heartbeat of emotions keeps the plot from spinning out of control. The first half of the book finds Eleanor suffering the consequences of the scandal resulting from the cover up of what really happened during the zombie outbreak in Philadelphia. We pick up a few months later, finding Eleanor selling all her family’s possessions one by one to pay for her mother’s care at a mental institution after learning the truth about her son caused a nervous breakdown.

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Trailer Park Friday: The Day Late Saturday Edition

I'm not exactly a social person. My ideal Friday night is sitting on the couch catching up on television recorded from the week before or reading a book until all hours of the early morning, but I don't usually go out. Except yesterday Howie Day was in town and it has been years and years since he's been in Austin, so we went out. That's why Trailer Park Friday is happening on a Saturday.

There are some horrible rumors that is more interest in the derivative Grown Ups 2 than Pacific Rim in the general populace and that Guillermo Del Toro's film is going to fail at the box office. This makes me sad and a little hateful towards the human race. If Transformers 156 can make bajillions of dollars, Pacific Rim shouldn't have any issues at the box office if this were a world that makes any sense.

I mean, ROBOTS VERSUS GIANT MONSTER, PEOPLE! This is going to be THE BEST MOVIE EVER*! Comes out July 12.

*or at least best movie ever involving giant robots

Thanks to io9 for bringing my attention to the book trailer for Phoebe North's Starglass, which comes out July 23. A lot of book trailers are pretty lame with a voice over narrator reading the book blurb while pretty people wander around in the background. This one has a strange geometric design and no voice offer. It's pretty effective and now I'm really curious about this book I hadn't even heard of before finding this trailer.

Starglass Book Trailer from Phoebe North on Vimeo.

This is not a trailer, but it's super cool. Now I want a steampunk walking Lego ship! Even if it is a little creepy in a spidery attack-me-in-my-sleep sort of way. Created by Jason Allemann. See more of his crazy Lego creations on his Flickr account.

And finally another not-trailer. I wasn't horribly upset by the announcement that Matt Smith was leaving Doctor Who. I've never been nearly as enamoured with him as David Tennant and the Moffat years have been really hit or miss for me. But then he has to do this Love Actually-esque goodbye video with an additional manic ending and now I might miss him just a little when he's gone.

And that's what I have for you this week. Do you have a favorite book trailer either for an upcoming book or a book already released? I'm eager to see more trailers that break the mold a little bit.