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The Alexia Tarabotti novels by Gail Carriger. Soulless, Changeless, Blameless and Heartless, with a fifth book (Timeless) to appear in March 2012.

As the cover of my copy of Heartless says…”A novel of vampires, werewolves and teapots.”  And really, in my world, it doesn’t get much better than that…unless its vampires, werewolves and teapots in a bubble bath with a bottle of bubbly and a box of chocolates.  I have to say that I *really* love to read these books.  Maybe it’s the steampunk, maybe it’s the almost Austin-esque propriety of the heroine, or maybe it’s the author’s ability to put a some unique ideas to vampires and werewolves without running them…but in the end, I love reading these books.

These books are decidedly un-epic (in the LOTR sense).  If that is what you are in the mood for, you are picking up the wrong read.  But for a spot of diversion on a long afternoon, with a bit of Victorian flair, some steamy mechanisms, and a refreshing approach to the supernatural, this is like a big, fat puffy cotton candy at the county fair.

The Alexia Tarabotti novels tell the story of one Alexia Tarabotti and her preternatural ability—born without a soul, Alexis is a sort of antidote to for those with too much soul, who are able to become supernatural (hence the vampires and werewolves, as well as ghosts).   Her adventures feature her unflappable servant Floote, her aweful family, her good friend and dandy, the vampire Lord Akeldama, and her werewolf admirer-turned-husband.  Alexia solves mysteries of questionable clockwork gadgets and supernatural misbehavior while serving the Queen as one of her “advisors” on matters not-quite-human and sporting an excellent taste in fashion, and an appallingly eccentric pimped out parasol.

Four brass octopi of five (you’ll have to read ‘em to get *that* reference)