Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog SPEAK CHUCKABOO, SLANG OF THE VICTORIAN AND STEAM ERAS (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene (@teagangeneviene) Rum ti tum with the chill off! Excellent! #authors

Hi all:

I bring you a non-fiction book by an author whose fiction has often been featured on my blog. You’ll love this one!

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Speak Chuckaboo, Slang of the Victorian and Steam Eras (Author Tool Chest) by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

Back in the days of steam engines and mannerly people, a chuckaboo was one’s dear friend. This volume contains slang from the Victorian Era, as well as the Steam Era, which began before the reign of Queen Victoria, and continued into the early 1900s. It combines language from the Victorian, Edwardian, and Steam Eras because there was a great deal of overlap.
This slang dictionary also contains a sprinkling of vocabulary words of those eras, which have fallen out of use, along with some history and trivia.
While every effort was made to be as historically accurate as possible, this compilation is not meant to be a scholarly work. It is intended for fictional use and entertainment purposes.
Have fun speaking chuckaboo. You’re positively rum ti tum with the chill off! Simply hunky dory.

International link:

Author Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

About the author:

Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene lives in a “high desert” town in the Southwest of the USA.

Teagan had always devoured fantasy novels of every type. Then one day there was no new book readily at hand for reading — so she decided to write one. And she hasn’t stopped writing since.

Her work is colored by her experiences from living in the southern states and the desert southwest. Teagan most often writes in the fantasy genre, but she also writes cozy mysteries. Whether it’s a 1920s mystery, a steampunk adventure, or urban fantasy, her stories have a strong element of whimsy.

Founder of the Three Things method of storytelling, her blog “Teagan’s Books” contains serial stories written according to “things” from viewers.

Major influences include Agatha Christie, Terry Brooks, David Eddings, Robert Jordan, and Charlaine Harris.

See book trailer videos here:

My review:

I discovered author Teagan Riordáin Geneviene through her blog quite a few years ago. I followed her three things stories (where she would write a serial, a chapter per week, following the suggestions left by readers), her three ingredients stories, and I discovered her longer works of fiction, which I recommend as well. She has a wonderful imagination, she can create characters and worlds that enchant, intrigue, and move readers, and she has a way of keeping the brain of the readers ticking and guiding their thoughts in unexpected directions.

Quite apart from her gift for fiction, the author has an evident love for research. When she sets her stories in a historical period (the Victorian era, the 1920s, the 1950s…), she peppers her narrative with details that bring it to life: songs of the period, inventions and discoveries of the era, styles of dress and fashion, makeup, colours, foods and drinks, recipes… You are immersed totally in the story and experience it through all your senses (yes, smells as well). I have learned about objects, historical characters, social mores and habits, transportation, and a wealth of information even about eras I thought I knew about, having read plenty of books and watched movies about the period. But you can trust Riordáin Geneviene to find some golden nugget of information you’d never heard about or the explanation for a particular saying that has always intrigued you.

One of the aspects of research I most appreciate in her stories is her use of words, expressions, turns of phrases, and jargon belonging to the location and historical age. Anybody who loves language is fascinated by how certain sayings and words came into being, and how and when became fashionable or dropped out of use. Any author who wants to write credible stories set in the past has to consider how the characters would have behaved and addressed each other. And that is why a dictionary of Slang, such as this one, is an invaluable asset and should be in any author’s tool chest.

The book is organised as a dictionary, with relevant entries for each letter, cross-references to other uses of similar words or expressions, and a short article containing relevant information about the period accompanying each new letter (related to a word beginning with that letter, of course). There are plenty of amusing expressions, notes on the dates when some of the expressions or words were first introduced, also some explanations as to why some of the most unusual terms came into being (I loved the entry about trousers. Oh, the Victorians and the legs!), and there is a sense of fancy and fun permeating the whole book.

I was surprised to discover that many expressions originating from the Victorian period were still in use (or at least I’d heard people using them, but that might be because I moved around a lot and met many people in different places and of all ages), at least in the UK. I was not surprised to discover that there were tonnes of words to refer to men and women’s genitals and to having sex (these are the Victorians we’re talking about, after all. Tell me what you don’t want to talk about openly, and I’ll tell you what you’re really thinking of). There were also many words for criminals and crimes of all sorts, prostitution, drinking, and drunkards, and a fair amount to refer, pretty humorously, to people of different social classes. There are also some true gems: words no longer in use that clearly and succinctly described feelings or thoughts that we don’t have a word for nowadays. (I love Excruciators: tight shoes, as I have suffered those more than once, and Gwenders: the numbness or tingling felt in the fingers when they’re cold.)This is a fun read, but also one that made me stop and think because language reflects so well the way people lived in that era.

The series Author Tool Chest also includes Speak Like a Flapper – Slang of the 1920s, and I hope the author will keep adding to it.

I recommend this book to all Writatives (‘one who loves or is inclined to write’) and all readers, especially those enamoured with language. It is Rum ti tum with the chill off (excellent)!

For those of you who enjoy a sample, the author shared the entries for the letter A of this book on her blog. You can check them out here.

Thanks to the author for another fun and witty book, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to share with anybody who might be interested, to leave a comment, like, click, and especially, to keep safe and keep smiling. ♥

Book review Book reviews Tuesday Book Blog

#TuesdayBookBlog HYDE by Craig Russell (@TheCraigRussell) (@ClaraHDiaz) Scottish Historical Gothic mystery, and a twist on Stevenson’s Hyde (without Jekyll)

Hi all:

I bring you a book that will be published in a couple of days by a writer whose previous book I enjoyed. Recommended to readers of historical fiction who love a touch of the Gothic/horror.

Cover of the book Hyde by Craig Russell with a Celtic design, of three spirals in Gold, the triskelion, on a green and black background.
Hyde by Craig Russell

Hyde: A thrilling Gothic masterpiece from the internationally bestselling author by Craig Russell 

When it comes to Gothic crime, Craig Russell is peerless. Absolutely stunning.’ – M W Craven
From international bestselling author Craig Russell comes a modern Gothic masterpiece.

Edward Hyde has a strange gift-or a curse-he keeps secret from all but his physician. He experiences two realities, one real, the other a dreamworld state brought on by a neurological condition.

When murders in Victorian Edinburgh echo the ancient Celtic threefold death ritual, Captain Edward Hyde hunts for those responsible. In the process he becomes entangled in a web of Celticist occultism and dark scheming by powerful figures. The answers are there to be found, not just in the real world but in the sinister symbolism of Edward Hyde’s otherworld.

He must find the killer, or lose his mind.

A dark tale. One that inspires Hyde’s friend . . . Robert Louis Stevenson.

Praise for Hyde:

‘Stephen King meets Robert Louis Stevenson… an imaginative gothic tale guaranteed to send a shiver down your spine the next time you walk a dark Edinburgh night.’ – David Hewson, author of The Garden Of Angels

‘Russell delivers a brooding, stunningly atmospheric tale set in Stevenson’s Edinburgh – multi-layered and intricately plotted, this is a Gothic thriller from the hands of a master.’ – Margaret Kirk, author of Shadow Man

‘A deliciously dark reimagining of a timeless character and a wonderful recreation of a gothic Edinburgh . . . Another winner for a consummate storyteller.’ – Douglas Skelton

‘Gloriously diabolical. A terrifying thrill ride through the hidden chasms of the human soul.’ – Chris Brookmyre, author of Black Widow

I absolutely adored it. Intense, harrowing and hugely entertaining. Craig Russell conjures the kind of spine-tingling tale that kept me reading through the night. Spectacular. – Chris Whittaker

‘The story is a thrilling ride through the murky depths of madness and horror, written with all Craig’s trademark skill and style. Definitely five stars from me’ James Oswald
‘A Gothic masterpiece which will lead you so far into the darkness that you won’t know who to trust. Another splendid offering from a writer who is top of his game. ‘ – Theresa Talbot

Praise for Craig Russell

‘A masterclass in suspenseful, character-driven prose fiction. Simply exceptional’
Frank Darabont, writer and director of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile

Author Craig Russell
Author Craig Russell

About the author:

Award-winning author Craig Russell’s novels have been translated into twenty-five languages worldwide. Film rights to his forthcoming novel, THE DEVIL ASPECT, have been acquired by Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures. The LENNOX series has been acquired by BAFTA award-winning Synchronicity Films for adaptation into a returning TV series. The first television adaptation in Germany, by Tivoli Films, of a Jan Fabel novel attracted an audience of six million viewers. Four further novels have been made into films (in one of which Craig Russell makes a cameo appearance as a German detective).

Craig Russell:
* won the 2015 Crime Book of the Year (McIlvanney Prize) for ‘The Ghosts of Altona’
* was a finalist for the 2019 Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Award
* was a finalist for the 2017 McIlvanney Prize for ‘The Quiet Death of Thomas Quaid’, the latest in the Lennox series;
* was a finalist for the 2012 inaugural Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the year;
* was a finalist for the 2013 Ellis Peters Historical Dagger;
* was a finalist for the 2012 Crime Book of the Year (McIlvanney Prize);
* won the 2008 CWA Dagger in the Library for the Fabel series;
* was a finalist for the 2007 CWA Duncan Lawrie Golden Dagger;
* was a finalist for the 2007 SNCF Prix Polar in France;
* is the only non-German to be awarded the highly prestigious Polizeistern by the Polizei

Official website:

Facebook Fanpage:


My review:

Thanks to Clara Diaz from Little, Brown Book Group UK and to NetGalley for providing me an ARC copy of this novel, which I freely chose to review.

I read and reviewed Russell’s novel The Devil Aspect (you can read my review here) and enjoyed the historical detail, the emphasis on psychological factors, and the Gothic/horror elements of the story, and there are many features I recognise here, although the setting is Scotland, Edinburgh to be more specific, the myths this time are Celtic, and the historical period is the Victorian era, at a time when Scotland has become a part of the United Kingdom, but not everybody is in agreement with that and/or with the imperialist drive of the British government. As was the case with the other novel, it is difficult to talk about the plot without revealing too much and spoiling some of the surprises —and there are plenty— to come, because the story is constructed as a mystery-cum-police procedural, combined with psychological/supernatural/dark Gothic-horror elements. The whole narrative is framed by a conversation between writer Robert Louis Stevenson and his friend Edward Hyde, where Stevenson tells Hyde that he is obsessed by the subject of the duality of the spirit, the fact that we all have a dark side that is hidden but might manifest itself in certain circumstances, but he feels unable to write about it. Hyde decides to tell him a relevant story, and the rest of the novel is the story which we are to assume managed to inspire Stevenson to write one of his most famous novels.

I have mentioned duality, and, in fact, multiple dualities and hidden identities are among the most important subjects of the story: Edinburgh (Scottish but also a part of the British empire; old/traditional and at the head of the industrial revolution, modernisation and electrification; prejudiced [against foreigners, sexual diversity, women…] and tolerant); Hyde, the main protagonist (decent and honest, but with a traumatic past, unable to tell the truth about his doubts and fears, and deeply concerned about the darkness within); secret and dark societies hiding behind socially acceptable fronts; moral crusades pretending to protect the public from terrorist risks… There are plenty of historical details about old Edinburgh, its characters, its institutions, its stories, its buildings… I am sure anybody who’s ever visited Edinburgh or who has dreamed of visiting it will be fascinated by this story, and will have plenty of places to add to their list, and they will view some pretty well-known locations under a different light. I was also inspired by the stories from Celtic mythology mentioned to research more on the subject, and there is much that intrigued me and kept me hooked onto the story. As this is a mystery and a historical police procedural, there are crimes, and despite (or because of) their ritualistic nature they are quite gross and gore, so caution is advised to those who prefer milder reads.

The story is narrated in the third person, mostly from Hyde’s point of view (although he is an unreliable narrator, as he experiences some strange visions and dreams, and also periods of blackout and lost time, when he doesn’t know what has happened, so separating the truth from his dreams is not always straight forward), although we also get some chapters or fragments of chapters from other characters’ perspective; like his psychiatrist and friend (who also hides some secrets of his own); Cally Burr, a wonderful female doctor (and my favourite character together with Hyde); Elspeth Lockwood, the daughter of a well-off family, and a pretty strong and determined woman (who is also pretty unreliable as a narrator); Hyde’s collaborators… Some of the other characters we only get to know through their interactions with the rest, like his boss; a mysterious leader/spiritualist and his right-hand man (who is fascinating as well); a man suspected of being a nationalist leader; a photographer who is more involved than he seems at first; relatives of the victims…

The story’s style is Gothic, not only because of the nature of the subject and the setting, but because it does reverberate with the style of the old novels of the period, and that includes the use of old Scottish words and terminology, and a pace that is more leisurely and less concerned with only advancing the story as most modern novels are. There is plenty of telling, including descriptions of locations, people, stories and detailed background of the mythology and the individual characters’ experiences that help create a credible and eerie Gothic atmosphere. But there is also much showing, as we experience some of the events from the point of view of the protagonists, getting to feel their confusion and puzzlement, and not knowing either if what we’re reading is happening or is a dream, or perhaps a state of consciousness somewhere in between. The different narratives alternate, and although it is clear whose perspective we are reading at any given time, it is important to keep one’s attention sharp, as is the case with police procedurals in general. Because there are some dark/Jungian/mythological/paranormal elements, I am not sure this book will work for purists of that genre, but there are plenty of twists, red herrings, false clues, and surprises, and those should keep most readers who love mixed-genres hooked and satisfied. There are also plenty of subjective and introspective moments for those of us who love to explore the recesses of characters’ minds, and although it is not a slow book, it allows readers time to ponder on the beauty of certain passages, and also to think about the deeper meaning of some of the experiences explored in the novel. As I tend to do, and because I want to avoid revealing any important points of the novel, I recommend future readers to check a sample of the book to help them decide if the style works for them.

Was I surprised by the ending? Well, I guessed some aspects of it (no, I won’t go into more detail than that), although quite late into the story, but not all, and yes, I enjoyed it. I would go as far to say that it was quite beautiful. It definitely worked for me.

So, do I recommend it? Yes, to those who are not purists of the police procedural, to readers who love historical fiction with a bit of a twist, who are not afraid of violent crime and dark and horrific subjects, who love unreliable narrators psychologically troubled, and especially those who aren’t looking for a stylistically modern narrative but are able to enjoy descriptions, precious writing, and language appropriate to the historical period. I intend to carry on reading Russell’s novels in the future and wonder where and when he’ll take me next.

Thanks to the publisher and the author for the novel, thanks to all of you for reading, and remember to like, share, comment, click, keep reviewing, smiling, and above all, keep safe!

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