The Qwillery | category: Kate Griffin


The Qwillery

A blog about books and other things speculative

Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate Griffin

Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows
Author:  Kate Griffin
Series:  The Kitty Peck Mysteries 4
Publisher:  Faber & Faber, November 7, 2019
Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 204 pages
List Price:  US$12.55 (print); US$7.49 (eBook)
ISBN:  9780571325603 (print); 9780571325610 (eBook)

Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate Griffin
Even though Paradise was riddled with rot, I reckoned I could make it a cleaner place for the poor types who came with the dirty trades. I could make them all love me, I thought.

I was wrong about that. I’ve been wrong about so much.

When Kitty Peck took over Paradise – her grandmother’s East End criminal empire – she thought she would be able to run it her own way. What Kitty didn’t know was that her grandmother had also left her violently entwined with the Barons of London. This coterie of fiends will stop at nothing to gain power, and they’ve already robbed Kitty of so much that she held dear.

Kitty is determined to do away with the dark underbelly of Paradise and to transform her music halls into the jewels of Limehouse. But as she begins her final assault on the Barons, a new threat appears in the form of an eerily charismatic preacher on a crusade against ‘wickedness and vice’. Can Kitty save Paradise from destruction, without losing any more of the people she loves?

Melanie's Thoughts

Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows is the final instalment of Kate Griffin's Kitty Peck series. Poor Kitty has risen to great heights - both literally and metaphorically. She has flown high above the dance halls in a golden cage as a performer and now that she has inherited her grandmother's east end empire she wants to make changes. It's not as easy as she hoped especially when the Barons still have control of her fate. However, its not just the Barons that are causing a problem for Kitty's plans to clean up the rot in her new empire. An extremely charismatic preacher has come to town preaching against the sinful ways of the residents of the east end. He is whipping up the locals against the dance halls and everyone who earns a living from them...Kitty included. If the Barons and the preacher weren't enough certain members of Kitty's theatre family have ended up dead, in the most gruesome ways possible. Now she has a serial killer to contend with. Things are not looking up for the Limehouse Linnet.

This final instalment is action packed with a capital 'A' from the first chapter to the very last. I quite enjoyed it (not the gruesome parts, of course) as there was a real sense throughout that life was going to get better for Kitty. The previous books were quite harrowing and while the murders on her doorstep, the omnipresent guilt she feels for Dan's death and the fact she was the reason her love interest loses an eye it doesn't stop her striving to be someone better. I thought it was quite interesting how Griffin uses the preacher as the tool to resolve one of the story's main plot points. Without revealing too much it was quite clever how she wound a number of plot threads and characters around one another to resolve not just the preacher plotline but the mystery of Kitty's parentage as well.  Usually, I can guess what will happen but I was on the edge of my seat throughout the final chapters of the book as I had no clue what Giffin had in store for Kitty and friends.

I did enjoy this series as a whole and Griffin clearly had done a lot of research into the period so that Kitty's life was true to the period. The book is very visceral and you can really picture Kitty, her clothes, and her home. I felt very sorry for Kitty in previous books but she was like a phoenix who has risen from the ashes...or in her case from the opium smoke to take control and create her own future. If you want to find out for yourself then you need to start at book 1 - Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders.

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017

Happy New Year! I hope you have had a good festive season. It's been awhile since I last posted but life has been a bit frantic with finishing off the semi finalists for SPFBO 2017. I had to take a bit of a reading sabbatical for anything not related to SPFBO. Be sure to check out what we read and who we put forward to the final round.

You should feel super lucky as you get to enjoy 2 of my 'year in review' during 2017 as my last one was posted on the 1st of Jan 2017. :) I have been reflecting over the last few weeks on the books I have read during the last year. Comparing my short list to last year's it appears it has been a lean year books that I loved as I was spoiled for choice to nominate 10. This year I have 5 faves of 2017. In reverse order my faves are:

5. Kitty Peck series by Kate Griffin

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017I came to the Kitty Peck series quite late on as book 1 - Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders was first published in 2013. However, I made up for lost time by slamming back all 3 books in a number of days. I loved everything about these books - the industrious, courageous Kitty, the dirty mean streets of Whitchapel in the late 1800s and the various mysteries that Kitty had to solve. The books in this series are traditional page turners and completely 'can't put downable'. If you haven't started this series be sure to clean the house, buy in some ready meals and make a thermos of tea before you turn page 1. I can hardly wait for instalment 4 and urge Griffin to put me out of my misery!

4. Wildfire by Ilona Andrews 

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Ilona Andrews gave fans of their Hidden Legacy series a big treat in 2017 with the release of White Hot (book 2) and Wildfire (book 3). I was pleasantly surprised by this series as I wasn't sure how it would hold up to either the Kate Daniels or the Innkeeper Chronicles series which I also loved. Wildfire gives the reader almost everything they need to feel satisfied at the end - a bit of a mystery, the right amount of romance, well developed characters and an interesting world for the characters to interact in. Initially I loved the fact this was a trilogy (why drag it out?) but now I am already missing my new fave heroine. Andrews teases fans with the fact there may be more books in the series but who knows if that will come off or not.

3. Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Sea of Rust is a bit like The Terminator told from the robot's perspective. Humanity has been wiped out and the story is told from one of the few remaining free robots. This story was very gritty and had a big surprise at the end that you could easily miss if you aren't paying attention. Can you feel sympathy for a robot? Well prepare yourself and have a hanky ready for the protagonist robot Brittle.

2. By Gaslight by Steven Price

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
By Gaslight is one of the very few actual books I have read in the last 4-5 years. I am pretty much a total eBook convert and when my sister handed me the hefty hardback By Gaslight my first thought was 'how am I going to carry that around?' Lucky for me I had a holiday coming up and I managed to squeeze it into my luggage. For such a big book it was such a quick read. Set in London in the late 1880s we follow the main characters through the dark and foggy streets, bystanders as the story unfold. Back and forth between the past and present the reader is taken on the same journey as the characters. I was mesmerized from the first sentences all the way to the end. A must read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

1. Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 1 of the Themis Files - Sleeping Giants was my 2nd favourite of 2016 and here is book 2 Waking Gods my fave of 2017. This is a series that was excellent from the first instalment and somehow manages to get even better in the second. Wanting to know more about the mystery narrator is even more pressing but Neuvel keeps the reader in the dark. The story is one roller coaster after another and I can't even imagine what Neuvel has in store for us next.

I can't recommend this series enough but it is vital you start at the beginning. I am confident that these books will soon form part of your favourite collection.

That is it from me for 2017. I hope you have been enjoying my Week in Review and my Review of 2017. I wish you the very best for 2018 and looking forward to sharing some of my favourite reads in the year ahead.

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
Kitty Peck 1
Faber & Faber, September 11, 2017
    Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Faber & Faber, June 25, 2013
    eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Limehouse, 1880: Dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. Seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck finds herself reluctantly drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder when The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the truth. But as Kitty's scandalous and terrifying act becomes the talk of London, she finds herself facing someone even more deadly and horrifying than The Lady.

Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, it soon becomes apparent that it's up to the unlikely team of Kitty and her stagehand friend, Lucca, to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate. But are Kitty's courage and common sense and Lucca's book learning a match for the monster in the shadows? Their investigations take them from the gin-fuelled halls and doss houses of the East End to the champagne-fuelled galleries of the West End.

Take nothing at face value: Kitty is about to step out on a path of discovery that changes everything . . .

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 2
Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 3

A Hidden Legacy Novel 3
Avon, July 25, 2017
Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 400 pages

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
From Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, the thrilling conclusion to her Hidden Legacy series, as Nevada and Rogan grapple with a power beyond even their imagination…

Nevada Baylor can’t decide which is more frustrating—harnessing her truthseeker abilities or dealing with Connor “Mad” Rogan and their evolving relationship. Yes, the billionaire Prime is helping her navigate the complex magical world in which she’s become a crucial player—and sometimes a pawn—but she also has to deal with his ex-fiancée, whose husband has disappeared, and whose damsel-in-distress act is wearing very, very thin.

Rogan faces his own challenges, too, as Nevada’s magical rank has made her a desirable match for other Primes. Controlling his immense powers is child’s play next to controlling his conflicting emotions. And now he and Nevada are confronted by a new threat within her own family. Can they face this together? Or is their world about to go up in smoke?

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 1
Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 2

Sea of Rust
Harper Voyager, September 5, 2017
Hardcover and eBook, 384 pages

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
A scavenger robot wanders in the wasteland created by a war that has destroyed humanity in this evocative post-apocalyptic "robot western" from the critically acclaimed author, screenwriter, and noted film critic.

It’s been thirty years since the apocalypse and fifteen years since the murder of the last human being at the hands of robots. Humankind is extinct. Every man, woman, and child has been liquidated by a global uprising devised by the very machines humans designed and built to serve them. Most of the world is controlled by an OWI—One World Intelligence—the shared consciousness of millions of robots, uploaded into one huge mainframe brain. But not all robots are willing to cede their individuality—their personality—for the sake of a greater, stronger, higher power. These intrepid resisters are outcasts; solo machines wandering among various underground outposts who have formed into an unruly civilization of rogue AIs in the wasteland that was once our world.

One of these resisters is Brittle, a scavenger robot trying to keep a deteriorating mind and body functional in a world that has lost all meaning. Although unable to experience emotions like a human, Brittle is haunted by the terrible crimes the robot population perpetrated on humanity. As Brittle roams the Sea of Rust, a large swath of territory that was once the Midwest, the loner robot slowly comes to terms with horrifyingly raw and vivid memories—and nearly unbearable guilt.

Sea of Rust is both a harsh story of survival and an optimistic adventure. A vividly imagined portrayal of ultimate destruction and desperate tenacity, it boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, yet where a humanlike AI strives to find purpose among the ruins.

By Gaslight
Picador, October 3, 2017
Trade Paperback, 752 pages
Hardcover and eBook, October 4, 2016

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
A literary tour de force of a detective's ceaseless hunt for an elusive criminal

By Gaslight is a deeply atmospheric, haunting novel about the unending quest that has shaped a man’s life.

William Pinkerton is already famous, the son of the most notorious detective of all time, when he descends into the underworld of Victorian London in pursuit of a new lead on the fabled con Edward Shade. William’s father died without ever finding Shade, but William is determined to drag the thief out of the shadows.

Adam Foole is a gentleman without a past, haunted by a love affair ten years gone. When he receives a letter from his lost beloved, he returns to London to find her. What he learns of her fate, and its connection to the man known as Shade, will force him to confront a grief he thought long-buried.
A fog-enshrouded hunt through sewers, opium dens, drawing rooms, and séance halls ensues, creating the most unlikely of bonds: between Pinkerton, the great detective, and Foole, the one man who may hold the key to finding Edward Shade.

Steven Price’s dazzling, riveting By Gaslight moves from the diamond mines of South Africa to the battlefields of the Civil War, on a journey into a cityscape of grief, trust, and its breaking, where what we share can bind us even against our darker selves.

Waking Gods
The Themis Files 2
Del Rey, March 13, 2018
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Hardcover and eBook, April 4, 2017

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
In the gripping sequel to Sleeping Giants, which was hailed by Pierce Brown as “a luminous conspiracy yarn . . . reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z,” Sylvain Neuvel’s innovative series about human-alien contact takes another giant step forward.

As a child, Rose Franklin made an astonishing discovery: a giant metallic hand, buried deep within the earth. As an adult, she’s dedicated her brilliant scientific career to solving the mystery that began that fateful day: Why was a titanic robot of unknown origin buried in pieces around the world? Years of investigation have produced intriguing answers—and even more perplexing questions. But the truth is closer than ever before when a second robot, more massive than the first, materializes and lashes out with deadly force.

Now humankind faces a nightmare invasion scenario made real, as more colossal machines touch down across the globe. But Rose and her team at the Earth Defense Corps refuse to surrender. They can turn the tide if they can unlock the last secrets of an advanced alien technology. The greatest weapon humanity wields is knowledge in a do-or-die battle to inherit the Earth . . . and maybe even the stars.

Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 1
Melanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017
Book 3

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017

Greetings all. I am being very cheeky this week as this WIR is 'pre-recorded'. By the time this WIR gets posted I will be on holibobs in Canada. Sorry! Well not really sorry....if you follow my posts then you know I had some time off and I have a backlog of books to tell you about. I don't want you to miss a single thing that I have been reading.

Without further adieu let's get to it. What did I read?

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
I have been reading Cassandra Gannon's A Kinda Fairytale series but started on book 3 based on a recommendation on Ilona Andrews' blog. I thought I would go back and read a few others - mainly books 1 and 2. I will talk about these together as I read them back to back and they weren't so fantastic to deserve their very own, individual reviews.

Wicked Ugly Bad is set mainly inside inside the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison where Scarlett Riding is serving a sentence for being Bad and trying to prevent her stepsister's - Cinderella - wedding to Prince Charming. Stuck in a 'share circle' with The Big Bad Wolf, Marrok, a troll with self esteem issues plus a few other notorious baddies is proving almost too much. Letty is desperate to escape and it might involve joining forces with some unlikely allies in order to do just that.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Beast in Shining Armor tells the story of the un-hero Avenant and his quest to find a sacred sword. Booted off the throne by the lovely Belle, Avenant is determined to topple Belle as the monarch and get back his crown. Set in an icy northern labyrinth filled with killer minotaurs and a bunch of other evil contestants who want the same thing as Avenant means that he may have to team up with Belle just in order to survive. The odd couple may just be the right couple to win but can they overcome their past in order to find the finish line?

Both books are very similar - the Bad are really good and the Good are really bad, especially Cinderella. There are some quite amusing bits especially in Wicked Ugly Bad and in the bits with the 'share circle' fact, those parts are very amusing. WUB was my favourite of the 3 books that I read. It was definitely the most humorous and had more of a plot. Beast in Shining Armor was more typical PNR with the unlikely hero becoming the hero with the love of a good woman. It was funny in parts but those were few and farther between.

Overall, these were OK. I think I over did it with this author and they didn't stand-up to binge reading. If I had to pick only one I would recommend Wicked Ugly Bad and leave it with that one. I also read Not Another Vampire Story but I couldn't finish it, it was quite ridiculous, even for its genre.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
The final book I am going to tell you about is Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow. Yet again life is not a bed of roses for poor Kitty Peck. Following the events of book 2 Kitty is once again being pursued by an evil cabal who are intent on destroying her and everyone she loves. Lady Ginger has the answers that Kitty seeks but she is near death and not intent on sharing her secrets. Kitty is trapped - either give the Barons what they want or suffer - and everyone around her would suffer also. Kitty has little time and even fewer allies to help her bring down those who want to hurt her.

This is another great instalment of the Kitty Peck Mysteries. Griffin has crafted a very compelling, if flawed character in Kitty Peck. You can't help feeling sorry for her and what she has been forced to become. We learn a bit about Kitty's parentage along with Kitty and this was my only point of criticism. The circumstances and details about Kitty's father is flawed. I can't see how Kitty and her brother could be near twins in looks and have been conceived in the circumstances in which Griffin sets out. It's almost as if she forgot that Kitty was younger than her brother. However, I am sooo looking forward to the next instalment. I can hardly wait!

That is it for this week. I hope you have found something enjoyable to read this past week. Until next time... Happy Reading!

Wicked Ugly Bad
A Kinda Fairytale 1
Star Turtle Publishing, March 11, 2013
Kindle eBook, 353 pages
     Also available as Trade Paperback

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Once Upon a Time…

Scarlett Riding is NOT an ugly stepsister. Cinderella is the evil one in the family and Letty is determined to prove it. Unfortunately, that’s kinda hard to do from behind bars. After the debacle at the ball, Letty and her sister Dru were dragged off to the Wicked, Ugly and Bad Mental Health Treatment Center and Maximum Security Prison. While Cindy’s planning her dream wedding, her two stepsisters are being forced to endure life in the dreariest dungeon in the land.

Luckily, Letty has a plan to change that unhappy ending. If she can just get to Prince Charming and prove the glass slipper doesn’t fit Cinderella’s foot, she can reclaim her life. In order to do that, though, she needs to convince The Big Bad Wolf to lend a hand in organizing a jailbreak.

Marrok Wolf isn’t sure what to make of the idealistic redhead in his group therapy sessions. With fifty counts of Badness on his criminal record, Marrok’s used to being surrounded by crooks and scumbags. Scarlett wants to lecture him about equal rights for trolls! When the little do-gooder comes up with an elaborate plan to break their entire “share circle” out of prison, though, Marrok is certainly willing to go along with the plot. And not just because he wants to see her naked. The woman may not be wicked, ugly, or Bad, but she’s definitely the only one who can save him.

Together with a wicked witch, a timid bridge ogre, an evil prince, and other villains straight out of a storybook, Scarlett and Marrok are about to make sure that Baddies finally have a happily ever after.

Beast in Shining Armor
A Kinda Fairytale 2
Star Turtle Publishing, August 12, 2013
Kindle eBook, 325 pages
     Also available as Trade Paperback

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Beauty vs. Beast…

Contestant One: Avenant is a handsome prince with a dark side. There’s a beast inside of him, always waiting to get out. All his life, he’s been labeled a monster and he’s done his best to live up to his Bad reputation. His parents hated him, his fairytale kingdom fears him, and now he’s been dragged into court. Again. His newest legal troubles are all because Belle Ashman stole his throne. The beautiful bookshop owner is the one woman Avenant longs for. The two of them have been in competition since childhood and the contest just became winner-take-all.

Contestant Two: Tired of Avenant ruining her dates, firing Mother Goose, and tearing down Humpty Dumpty’s wall, Rosabella Aria Ashman decided to depose the tyrant. Eight months ago, Belle led a rebellion and had Avenant thrown in prison. Now, the Beast has returned, demanding his kingdom back. Avenant might be gorgeous, but he’s also arrogant, selfish and he’s been mean to her since kindergarten. This time, Belle’s determined to vanquish him, once and for all.

The Ultimate Showdown: In the farthest corner of the Northlands, there is an impenetrable labyrinth. Made of ice and stone, no one has ever entered it and emerged alive. Now, Belle, Avenant, and other storybook contenders for the crown are heading into the maze. Whoever solves its riddles gets the kingdom. In order to win, Belle and Avenant are going to have to work together. Considering their lifelong feud, that would be challenging enough, but they’re also dealing with an angry minotaur, an unknown killer, miles of twisting corridors… and the fact that these two mortal enemies might just make a perfect team.

Kitty Peck and the Daughter of Sorrow
The Kitty Peck Mysteries 3
Faber & Faber, July 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 528 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017
Summer 1881: the streets of Limehouse are thick with opium... and menace. At eighteen Kitty Peck has inherited Paradise, a sprawling criminal empire on the banks of the Thames. Determined to do things differently to her fearsome grandmother, she now realises that the past casts a long and treacherous shadow. Haunted by a terrible secret and stalked by a criminal cabal intent on humiliation and destruction, Kitty must fight for the future of everyone she cares for...

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017

Hello again. I hope you are having a crisp and colourful autumn.  I have been hearing how beautiful the autumn trees are this year and looking forward to seeing them. In fact by the time you are reading this I will be in Canada on holiday and enjoying the leaves in all their glory.  As I mentioned last week I have a tiny backlog of books I have to tell you about so while this post is called my week in review it isn't specific about which week!  Cheeky!  Anyway, here I go....this is what I have been reading.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
I follow Ilona Andrews' blog and occasionally Ilona tells you about a book she has been reading.  This time she had read and enjoyed Cassandra Gannon's The Kingpin of Camelot which is the third book in her A Kinda Fairytale series. Andrews thought the book was really funny and I was in need in of funny and decided to give it a go.

The Kingpin of Camelot is a mishmash of every fairy tale you have ever heard. The books of the series focus on different fairytale characters and in this instalment Lady Guinevere is on the run with her daughter Avalon. She has been charged with killing her husband King Arthur and The Scarecrow is determined to marry her to become the next King. Gwen escapes and runs straight into the home (and later arms) of the most unlikely alley - the ultimate mobster - the Kingpin Midas. Everything Midas touches is gold and he has everything money, or gold could ever buy except for class. When he comes face to face with Gwen he releases that she can give him the class he desperately wants but more importantly he realizes she is his 'true love'. In Gannon's version of fairy tales everything is topsy-turvy - the good are actually quite bad and the bad are kind of good. The Bad, as they are called, can recognise their true love at first sight. Midas isn't sure whether it is going to be easier to rescue Gwen from The Scarecrow or convince her she is his true love but he is up for the challenge. Can Midas turn his relationship with Gwen into gold like he has with everything else he has ever touched?

The Kingpin of Camelot was just what I needed at the time. I wanted something lighthearted and while I don't normally enjoy a lot of PNR it usually means an uncomplicated read. I am not convinced I would have enjoyed this book had I been reading other more enjoyable or compelling books but it filled a book shaped gap. Gannon gave both Gwen and Midas some very amusing lines and situations. I did think that Avalon (Gwen's daughter) was a bit too cutsey and the chapters where she was the focal point were sugary sweet. If you like fairytales and want to read something a bit different with a strong PNR plot then give it a go. I did read other books in this series and will let you know what I thought in future posts.

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
If you read my WIR last week you will know that I have been reading Kate Griffin's Kitty Peck series. Onto book 2 - Kitty Peck and the Child of Ill Fortune - which finds Kitty in a much different situation to when we left her. She has inherited Lady Ginger's business including the musical halls where she found the depths of human suffering and the bonds of friendship. With her inheritance she discovers the yoke that had been around Lady Ginger's neck and why she was so fierce, seemingly cruel and always surrounded in a fugue of opium. Kitty also learns that her brother is very much alive and living in Paris and determined to be reunited. Unfortunately, a joyous family reunion isn't in the cards but instead this leads Kitty onto yet another path of cruelty and death.

Another gripping tale from Kate Griffin from start to finish...perhaps not quite as much as with book 1 but pretty close. Poor Kitty! I kept thinking all the way through.  Just when she makes one small step to uncover the truth the farther and farther she moves away from it. Kitty's reunion with her brother is bittersweet and Kitty's longing for the way things used to be is palatable even though it becomes clear that reality and her recollections are not one and the same. There are a couple of tragic events in store for Kitty in this instalment and a very sad ending. Reader beware!

That is it for me for another week. I hope you have had a couple of good books to enjoy this week. Be sure to check out my review of the next Kitty Peck book. Until then Happy Reading.

The Kingpin of Camelot
A Kinda Fairytale 3
Star Turtle Publishing, July 31, 2017
     Kindle eBook

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
The Queen: Guinevere must save Camelot. Ever since Arthur died, the evil Scarecrow has been trying to marry her and gain the crown. If she and her daughter are going to survive his mad schemes, Gwen needs to find Merlyn’s wand. Fast. Unfortunately, the only man strong enough to help her on her quest is Kingpin Midas, a flashy, uneducated mobster dealing with a curse. Gwen is a logical, rational woman, though, and she can draft one hell of a contract. She’s pretty sure she can come up with an offer not even the kingdom’s greatest villain can refuse.

The Kingpin: Anything Midas touches turns to gold. Literally. The curse has helped him to rule Camelot’s underworld with an iron fist. He has more money and more power than anyone else in the kingdom. He’s convinced there’s nothing he can’t buy. One look at Gwen and Midas knows that he’s about to make his most brilliant purchase, yet. He’s about to own the one woman in the world he would give anything to possess. All he has to do to claim her is somehow win a war against the smartest man in Camelot, hide his growing feelings from Gwen, deal with his overprotective bodyguard’s paranoia about the queen’s hidden motivations, and adjust to a five year old demanding bedtime stories from a gangster. Simple, right?

The Contract: Gwen’s deal is simple: If Midas marries her, she’ll make him King of Camelot. It’s a fair bargain. Midas will keep her enemies away and she’ll give him the respectability that money can’t buy. She never expects Midas to agree so quickly. Or for their practical business arrangement to feel so… complicated. Midas isn’t the tawdry, feral animal that Arthur railed against. He’s a kind and gentle man, who clearly needs Gwen’s help just as much as she needs his. In fact, the longer she’s around Midas the more Gwen realizes that their “fake marriage” might be more real than she ever imagined.

Kitty Peck and The Child of Ill Fortune
Faber & Faber, June 30, 2015
     eBook, 416 pages
Faber & Faber, July 2, 2015
     Trade Paperback, 416 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017
Kitty Peck is taking on the underworld of London's East End.

The Music Hall Murders:
It's 1880 and dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor run with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the secret to the mystery, and suddenly seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck is drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder. Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, Kitty, with the help of her stagehand friend, Lucca, is left to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate.

The Child of Ill-Fortune:
A year later, and Kitty Peck is the reluctant heiress to 'Paradise'. Far from the colour and camaraderie of the music hall where Kitty had been working, this new position brings with it isolation and uncertainty. Desperate to reconnect with Joey, her estranged brother, Kitty travels to Paris, but the joy of the reunion is overshadowed by his request for her to take a child back to London. Within days of her return it's clear that someone has followed them - and that this someone is determined to kill the child, along with anyone who stands in their way...

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017

Happy October! Sorry that you missed me in September. I wanted to take a little break as I was losing my reading mojo and then I lost my Mom so I really needed to take some time off from reading and blogging. However, I inherited my love reading from my Mom so while I haven't been blogging I have kept reading....although maybe not with the same gusto as before. I am back in the UK now and back to work so back to blogging about what I have been reading. What have I read? Let me tell you about a few good ones.

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
I don't remember now how I came across Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders by Kate Griffin but boy, I am glad I did. Set in the London in the late 1880's Kitty Peck is eeking out a living in the grimy underworld of the east end music halls. Still grieving her brother, who was mysteriously died months before, no one is more surprised than Kitty to be summoned to Lady Ginger's, the boss and baron who resides over much of the East End's criminal scene. Girls are going missing and Lady Ginger will not broach anything or anyone who interferes with her livelihood, her money or her property. She tasks Kitty to solve the mystery of who is responsible and holds the minor detail that Kitty's brother may still be alive and in her control as the bait to keep her compliant. With the help of her friend Lucca its not long before Kitty is drawn into the seedy happenings in the musical halls and on the trail of a ruthless, vicious killer. Will she survive to solve the mystery? You need to read it to find out.

Before to you start this book be sure to have all your housework done and don't have any big projects due at work as this book is one that you can't put down. I had my eyes glued to my Kindle for all 350+ pages. Griffin is a very evocative writer. It's like you can see through Kitty's eyes and see the grime and grit of the musical halls, smell the foul air that pervades London and feel the push of the crowds when Kitty ventures outside.  The mystery itself wasn't the challenge or the reason why I was so hooked.  For me the mystery was whether Kitty would extradite herself from the situation and if so, how she would go about it without losing her brother or herself in the process.  Lady Ginger was terrifying so be forewarned and there is a big surprise at the end about this character!  I read the first 3 books in quick succession but I am only going to tell you about 1 book each week so that I don't leave you with too many spoilers.

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
Book 2 that I want to tell you about is book 2 of the Oddjobs series by Heide Goody and Iain Grant - Oddjobs 2: This Time It's Personnel. In this instalment the Venislarn are still being the Venislarn and the Consular Office are still trying to keep their existence hidden. An agent of the Venislarn is going door to door and buying souls along with a cheap broadband subscription and 'the gang' ie Morag and co are going to make sure that he doesn't succeed in bringing about whatever alien armageddon he has planned. From an alien with dementia and the power to make whole areas of the city disappear to murderous school children to a demon trapped in cloth doll are just a few of the zany happenings that Goody and Grant have in store in Oddjobs 2.

I don't know how Goody and Grant do it. How can they be soo funny book after book? I laughed my way through the Clovenhoof series and do some serious chuckling in this one. The best character by far is Steve the Destroyer...aka demon trapped in a cloth doll. I do so hope that Steve is brought back for book 3 as across 2 different series he is pretty close to my favourite character. Can't quite figure out where the authors are planning to go with the series but I look forward to finding out.

That is it for me this week. Stay tuned to find out what happens to Kitty Peck.  Until next week Happy Reading!

Kitty Peck and the Music Hall Murders
Kitty Peck 1
Faber & Faber, September 11, 2017
    Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Faber & Faber, June 25, 2013
    eBook, 368 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
Limehouse, 1880: Dancing girls are going missing from 'Paradise' - the criminal manor with ruthless efficiency by the ferocious Lady Ginger. Seventeen-year-old music hall seamstress Kitty Peck finds herself reluctantly drawn into a web of blackmail, depravity and murder when The Lady devises a singular scheme to discover the truth. But as Kitty's scandalous and terrifying act becomes the talk of London, she finds herself facing someone even more deadly and horrifying than The Lady.

Bold, impetuous and blessed with more brains than she cares to admit, it soon becomes apparent that it's up to the unlikely team of Kitty and her stagehand friend, Lucca, to unravel the truth and ensure that more girls do not meet with a similar fate. But are Kitty's courage and common sense and Lucca's book learning a match for the monster in the shadows? Their investigations take them from the gin-fuelled halls and doss houses of the East End to the champagne-fuelled galleries of the West End.

Take nothing at face value: Kitty is about to step out on a path of discovery that changes everything . . .

Oddjobs 2: This Time It's Personnel
Oddjobs 2
Pigeon Park Press, August 25, 2017
Trade Paperback and eBook, 382 pages

Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017
The Venislarn. Vastly intelligent aliens from another dimension or dribbling insane gods from a distant realm? It’s impossible to tell. What’s certain is that they’re here and they’re going to destroy our world.

But, hey, there’s no mileage to be gained from telling the kiddywinks that monsters are real…

The consular mission to the Venislarn are the god appeasers and the end of life carers for an oblivious planet. It may be the end of the world as we know it but there are procedures and policies in place and everything should go according to plan.

But, in the city, someone’s buying souls door to door, dealing the kind of magical drugs that guarantee a really, really bad trip and, if something isn’t done about it, the end of the world might just happen a lot sooner than planned.

Sequel to the hilarious ‘Oddjobs’, this is a workplace comedy like no other, featuring face-eating grannies, telepathic spiders, bloodthirsty school kids, murder on the dancefloor, sex-crazed pondlife, and actual stockbrokers from hell.

The weekend can’t come soon enough (if it comes at all).

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013

The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013I was never a big fan of books involving angels. It wasn't until I read Angelfall by Susan Ee and when I was completely blown away by that book that I decided that perhaps angels were better heroes than I had thought. I am sure that you think I am weird for not liking these heavenly creatures but they were always just a bit too good, a bit too gorgeous and a bit too stereotypical for me to really think they were credible hero material. I have read a number of books since and a few with other avian species such as harpies, gryphons and other birds but I feel that maybe I have been more unfair to more saintly of our feathered friends. I have been thinking about what it would be like to have your very own set of celestial wings and have come up with a list of the pros and cons of being an angel.

    The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
  1. Wings make for the perfect accessory that will never go out of style. 
  2. You could save on domestic fights and never get stuck in traffic jams.
  3. You have built in sunshade for lounging on the beach.
  4. Dusting the house would take half the time with your very own in-built feather dusters.
  5. You would be the first choice for christmas concerts or singing in a choir.
  6. As you would be immortal you have lots of opportunity to learn several languages, learn to play a few instruments and play the stock market.
  7. If you didn't have a pen to hand one of your feathers would make a handy quill. Just remember to carry ink in your handbag.
  8. You never have to worry about 'does my bum look big in this' as your wings provide effective camouflage.
  9. Your innate ability to play the lute and harp would give you the potential of play at renaissance fairs or in movies set in medieval times.
  10. Someone standing to close to you? No problem, just knock them to one side by stretching out your powerful wings. Very handy if travelling on London Underground. The reverse would apply if you wanted to hide any PDAs with your sweetie - you could hide your smooching from the public with your wings.


The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013
1. Finding clothes that fit over your wings would be extremely difficult or you need to stick to wearing halter tops. If you were a boy angel you would have to go topless which could get chilly.
2. Your friends would always want to bum a ride when they were late for work.
3. You could never have cats.
4. You wouldn't be able to go swimming or scuba diving.
5. You would be prone to show off with your glorious wings
6. You'd be stuck always sleeping on your stomach.
7. Might be hard to keep friends with your gorgeous wings, immortality and omnipotence.
8. It would be impossible to find an umbrella large enough to keep your wings dry in rainy weather.
9. It would be really hard to look over your shoulder.
10. You could never sit in a chair or sofa with a back rest. Furnishing your home might be a challenge.

If you are interested in finding out whether you agree/disagree with my list, here are some series that feature angels to get you on your way. I would LOVE to know what you think of my pros and cons and if you can think of anymore.

Susan Ee - Penryn and the End of Days

1.  Angelfall
2.  World After

    Nalini Singh - Guild Hunter 

    1.  Angel's Judgment
    2.  Angels' Blood
    3.  Archangel's Kiss
    4.  Archangel's Consort
    5.  Archangel's Blade
    6.  Archangel's Storm
    7.  Archangel's Legion

    Kate Griffin - Matthew Swift

    1.  A Madness of Angels
    2.  The Midnight Mayor
    3.  The Neon Court
    4.  The Minority Council

    Linda Poitevin - Grigori Legacy

    1.  Sins of the Angels
    2.  Sins of the Son
    3.  Sins of the Lost

    If you like angels, you may enjoy the Angels of Darkness anthology featuring novellas by Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews, Sharon Shinn, and Meljean Brook.  See Qwill's review of the Sharon Shinn novella, Nocturne, here.

    Review: The Glass God (Magicals Anonymous 2) by Kate Griffin - July 27, 2013

    The Glass God
    Author:  Kate Griffin
    Series:  Magicals Anonymous 2
    Publisher:  Orbit, July 9, 2013
    Format:  Trade Paperback and eBook, 464 pages
    Price:  $15.00 (print)
    ISBN:  9780356500652 (print)
    Review copy:  Purchased by Melanie

    Review: The Glass God (Magicals Anonymous 2) by Kate Griffin - July 27, 2013
    Sharon Li: apprentice shaman and community support officer for the magically inclined.

    It wasn't the career Sharon had in mind, but she's getting used to running Magicals Anonymous and learning how to Be One With The City.

    When the Midnight Mayor goes missing, leaving only a suspiciously innocent-looking umbrella behind him, Sharon finds herself promoted. Her first task: find the Midnight Mayor. The only clues she has are a city dryad's cryptic message of doom and several pairs of abandoned shoes ...

    Suddenly, Sharon's job feels a whole lot harder.

    Melanie's Thoughts

    Sharon Li is just starting to come to grips with being a shaman, her role as protector of London, community support officer and head of Magicals Anonymous - the self help group for the magical misfits of London. Sharon even has an office and an IT manager in the form of Rhys the druid.  Things are going well until she finds out the Midnight Mayor, Matthew Swift, has gone missing. Just before disappearing Swift promotes Sharon to deputy Midnight Mayor and leaves her an old umbrella as a very tenuous clue as to what might have happened to him. With the help of Swift's PA Kelly, the Aldermen, Rhys, and the 'magical gang' Sharon sets out to rescue not just the Midnight Mayor but all of London in the process.

    I really enjoyed Book 1 in the Magicals Anonymous series, Stray Souls. I thought it had a kooky cast of characters, an engaging plot and a lot of well timed humour. While I enjoyed The Glass God my very first reaction was that it wasn't quite as funny and that there wasn't enough time given to my favourite characters. Although it has been a while since I read Stray Souls I remember there being chapters more or less dedicated to the secondary characters including Kevin - the germaphobic vampire, Gretel the troll who likes gourmet food, Sally - the harpy who loves fine art, and Mr Roding - a necromancer who is decaying before everyone's eyes.  I especially liked Kevin. Sharon was my least favourite character, albeit being the star of the show. As I write this review I realise that I am not being exactly fair to poor Sharon and perhaps, more importantly to Kate Griffin.  While the plot focusses mainly on Sharon and by association Rhys, there are chapters or parts of chapters involving the other characters. Individually, each character helps to develop the plot by revealing clues to the mystery surrounding Swift's disappearance, as well as providing comic relief. We also get to meet a few new characters and get to know others from Book 1 such as Kelly who is Swift's overly efficient PA. Kelly probably has some of the best lines in the book. Griffin concentrates her efforts on developing Sharon as a character and there are some 'really cool' new things in store for the shaman as her powers grow.

    Griffin, writes very much as a Londoner. While I thoroughly enjoy following the characters across London on their adventures I wonder how well non-Londoners relate to her depiction of the city. I guess the same could be said of any book based in any well known city but in this case Griffin has infused Sharon's London with her personal viewpoint. I am not completely sure whether anyone other than residents or people really familiar with the city would 'get' some of the jokes and locational references. Personally, I love reading about what part of London Sharon is going to go to next and sometimes even think (in my own sad way) 'hey that's where Sharon did xyz' when I pass by a landmark from the book. London is a superb setting for these books and Griffin has done an excellent job of using London's landmarks and folklore to her advantage.

    It's not necessary to have read the Matthew Swift books but it may help to have read at least the first one to understand who/what Swift is. Overall, this is a great book in a great series. It has almost everything you could want in light hearted paranormal mystery with funny characters, a great mystery and a unique, innovative plot.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013

    Another week has gone by in the UK's first real summer since 2008.  Yes, we have actually had consecutive days of super warm weather. I did feel a little bit like a ice cream walking to the tube last Monday. I started out with a spring in my step, nice and cool and ended up a hot, sweaty mess when I got on the train. It was sooo hot on the train I thought the heating was on which in turn made reading impossible.

    Well, that is the excuse I am going to use this week for only reading 2 books. For those of you who read my Week in Review last week I had just bought The Glass God by Kate Griffin. I think I am going to be reviewing this book so I don't want to give too much away but to share a secret *whispers* go buy it quickly!

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013
    I also read both of the new short stories by Michael J. Sullivan - The Crown Tower and The Rose and The Thorn.  They are billed as short stories but they are quite long. I don't really remember the rules on length of short story versus novella but suffice to say they take long enough to read for them to feel like a full fledged book. I will also be reviewing these so not even going to give a hint away.  Sorry!

    I started but  not very far into All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen. It is a steampunk version of Twelfth Night by none other than William Shakespeare (Bill to his friends). It has started out quite interesting so I have high hopes for it.  Stay tuned until next week when I hope to have finished it.

    I am in a tad of a quandry of what to read next. London Underground + 30C = not much concentration. I really need a great book to get me through the tube journey.  Any and all suggestions are gratefully appreciated.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013In other bookish news I tweeted Stefan Petrucha to find out when the next installment of the Hessius Mann series was out.  He told me that they are waiting to hear about the movie/TV show.  HOW EXCITING!! If you haven't read either Dead Mann Walking or Dead Mann Running then rush immediately to your local book store or your computer and get buying them. Books that combine social commentary with humour so well are few and far between.  Petrucha quite cleverly mixes themes such as racism, bigotry and social exclusion with a nail biting murder mystery.  I hope that putting these stories on either the big or small screen doesn't change the message (s) that Petrucha is trying to get across.

    Well enough hot weather rambling for me. I am off to go out and enjoy the sun.  Until next week Happy Reading.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013

    I almost can't believe another week has gone by.  Another week of lovely summer weather. It was a scorching day today which had me snoozing instead of reading in the sun. I did manage to get a few things read this week though.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013
    I finished Three by Jay Posey but will be reviewing it so don't want to give too much away.  I started The Havoc Machine started by Steve Harper. It had one of the funniest author's 'forwards' I have ever read.  I wish the book was as amusing. I will be reviewing this one as well and haven't finished it so I don't want to speak too soon.  Don't be fooled by the cover.  Its not one of my favourite covers and doesn't really give you an impression of how gritty the book really is.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013 I also read the newly released Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones. I have been enjoying this series more for the quips and the chapter titles as much the plot. This books finds the grim reaper Charley with the son of Satan, Reyes, as a next door neighbor. Things heat up in this, thefifth book of the series....literally with lots of 'assignations' for the pair. In fact, remind me never to go over to Reyes's for dinner. I am sure what they were doing with the kitchen utensils was in violation of a few health and safety rules. While I enjoyed this installment I thought it was a tiny bit weaker than some of the previous books. Jones, seemed to want to cram one too many sub-plots into the mix this time although everything gets wrapped up with a bow at the end.

    Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013I was also super naughty and added more books to my TBR. I found out that The Glass God, the 2nd book in the Magical Anonymous series, by Kate Griffin was out so I had to buy it.  This is a fantastic series and completely funny. 

    I also found 2 new books by Michael J. Sullivan on NetGalley: The Crown and The Rose and The Thorn. Both novels are part of the  Riyria Revelations series. I can hardly wait to read them.  I love this series. That is all from me. I have quite a few books to read so better get to them. Until next week Happy Reading!

    Review: Kitty Peck and the Parliament of Shadows by Kate GriffinMelanie's Year in Review - December 31, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - October 22, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - October 15, 2017Melanie's Week in Review - October, 8 2017The Pros and Cons of Being an Angel - December 6, 2013Review: The Glass God (Magicals Anonymous 2) by Kate Griffin - July 27, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - July 21, 2013Melanie's Week in Review - July 14, 2013

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