The Lightning God’s Wife by Grace Draven (Master of Crows)

Title: The Lightning God’s Wife
Series: Master of Crows
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: September 27, 2017
Date Started: October 17, 2018
Date Finished: October 19, 2018
Reading Duration: 2 days
Genre: Fantasy, Short Story, Paranormal Romance

The Lightning God's Wife coverPages: 29
Publication Date: September 17, 2014
Publisher:
Self
Media: 
eBook/Kindle


It hasn’t rained for a quarter of a century, and a dying world gasps for water. Outcast and exiled, the rain priestess Revida rescues a man and his children as they flee from the wrath of a creator god known as the Bitter Dark. But Atagartis is more than a man, and Revida soon discovers the lover she’s known only in dreams has a purpose for her and the tearless grief she’s born for more than two decades.


This short takes place in the same world as Master of Crowsoccurring after the first novel in the series.  Silhara and Martisse (the OTP) serve as a framing device for the tale at hand, as she’s telling him the story after they’re both woken up by a storm in the midst of a bad drought.

While I enjoyed reading about Silhara and Martisse again (I love when a deadpan snarker is matched with cool witticism), the Lightning God and Rain Goddess story was (ironically) kind of dry, which is a double shame because I’m pretty certain they were supposed to complement to the sorcerer and apprentice turned lovers from the first book.  The idea was good, but the execution didn’t do anything different with the motifs of *spoiler* warring sibling gods and deities falling in love with humans to whom they eventually grant apotheosis. *end spoiler*   This could be because Draven didn’t have time to flesh out these characters in this short excursion into the world, so if the story had either been longer or actually focused on Martisse and Silhara, it would’ve worked better.

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The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee (Montague Siblings #1)

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Series Title: Montague Siblings
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Date Added: August 18, 2018
Date Started: September 24, 2018
Date Finished: October 16, 2018
Reading Duration: 22 days
Genre: Fantasy, Low Fantasy, Romance, Historical Fiction, Young Adult (YA), LGBTQ+

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and VirtuePages: 513
Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Media: eBook/Kindle


Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores. 


CW: Contains discussions of homophobia, biphobia, racism, sexism/misogyny, ableism, and physical abuse


“Because I want you to know…that there is life after survival.”

Henry Montague or Monty, as he prefers to be called, has been allowed one last hurrah in the form of a Grand Tour of Europe by his dickhead dad before being forced to run the fore mentioned’s estates in England on pain of being disinherited.  Prior to the birth of his little brother, dubbed the “Goblin,” Monty’s status, though unwanted, was still secure as the earl had no one else to pass his title to, his only other issue being a daughter, Felicity.  Even if she could inherit, the house wouldn’t remain “in the family” insofar as she’d take the name of the man to whom she was wed.

Gif of Zendaya, a light skinned Black woman with her hair up in a bun, rolling her eyes and giving a side eye while looking off to the left

Just in case my thoughts about this were unclear…

It’s a similar situation to Samwell Tarly in ASOIAF with his father except “at least” Monty’s father isn’t threatening to kill him, only cut him off if he’s found “mucking around with boys again” (Lord Montague has no problem beating the shit out of him, though, but we’ll get to that).

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The State of the Writer: 4/3/22

<–The State of the Writer: 3/20/22         The State of the Writer: 4/17/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 11,282
Prior Word Count: 11,211
Word Difference: +71
Status: Outlining
Progress:
Reorganizing

I’ve never struggled so much with a story before, and it’s due to a variety of factors.  I’m sure if I was writing this a decade or so ago I would not have the issues I’m having now because a decade ago I had more energy.  While I have no shortage of ideas, the application of them takes more concentration than I can usually muster, and it’s frustrating AF.  Thank god I take notes on things, because I literally forgot an explanation/story I wrote about a major religious belief that makes perfect sense for how people would see the world, and it’s like 🤦🏾‍♀️ wtf are you doing??  So I need to stop and reorganize…again.  I need to figure out how OneNote and Scrivener are going to function in this story.  I’ve been using Scrivener for notes and OneNote for checklists, but I think I need to define better parameters.  I just hate feeling so unmoored, and I hate how I have to constantly reorganize.  It’s like my methods prior aren’t good enough and shit just becomes chaotic again.  I suppose I should expect the constant fight against entropy with the expectation that entropy will always win.

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The Books of 2021

I’m following the same format from last year with some tweaks, because was 2021 really that different from 2020?  It’s all been just one continuous “year” hell state so let’s talk about books once more!


Favorite Book

This book hit every single one of my buttons: fallen angel/general turned slave/assassin with a half-human, half-fae lady is just the jumping (falling?) off point.  It really made me wonder if there was just a satchel of tropes that come with fallen/dark angel characters because I’m noticing patterns between this, Nalini Singh’s Guild Hunter series, FFVII, my own writing, Constantine (the film), and a slew of other narratives with them.  Like wtf is going on?  It’s something I definitely want to research down the line.

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The State of the Writer: 3/20/21

<–The State of the Writer: 3/6/22         The State of the Writer: 4/3/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 0


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 11,211
Prior Word Count: 11,215
Word Difference: -4
Status: Editing Chapter 1 and adding in macro edits from notes
Progress:
Chapter 2

I did add some words, but it looks like I cut out a few more than I did, which I’m totally okay with.  My note to myself is to just keep editing from where I left off, but I feel like I might need to so some organization sessions.  I just don’t like how my notes are currently on OneNote.  It probably doesn’t help that I have this both there and on Scrivener.  OneNote is mostly for “To Do” lists and reminders whereas Scrivener is for more honed and organized thoughts.  Because I can update OneNote on my phone and it’ll sync to the computer app and I haven’t figured out how to do that with Scrivener yet.

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The State of the Writer: 3/6/21

<–The State of the Writer: 2/20/22         The State of the Writer: 3/20/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count:  11,215
Prior Word Count: 11,228
Word Difference: -13
Status: Editing Chapter 1 and adding in macro edits from notes
Progress:
Chapter 2

The word count went down because of the editing, and I’m already planning on cutting some more extraneous things out.  I know it’s weird to be editing when I just started drafting, but I’ve mentioned before I need to iron some things out prior to continuing.  I just can’t have it sitting “wrong” even though of course I’d fix it eventually.  I’m just like that lol.  If I know it’s wrong and it’s an integral part of the story, I have to fix it.

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The State of the Writer: 2/20/21

<–The State of the Writer: 2/6/22         The State of the Writer: 3/6/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 11,228
Prior Word Count: 10,684
Word Difference: +544
Status: Adding line edits from notes
Progress:
Chapter 2

It took an embarrassingly long time to add in the parts about the “magic feather” (it makes sense in context).  I kept running into issues with connecting what I already had with what I needed to add.  Of course there’s a lot that will be smoothed out in editing, but I wanted to at least make the effort.

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The Book of the Unnamed Midwife by Meg Elison (The Road to Nowhere #1) (DNF)

CW: Discussions of rape/sexual assault, genital mutilation, childbirth/forced childbirth and death in childbirth, suicide, and disease.


Title: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Series Title: Road to Nowhere
Author: Meg Elison
Date Added: September 22, 2018
Date Started: September 28, 2018
Date DNF: October 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 5 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic, LGBTQ+

The Book of the Unnamed MidwifePages: 300
Publication Date: June 4, 2014
Publisher: 47North
Media: eBook/Kindle


Philip K. Dick Award Winner for Distinguished Science Fiction

When she fell asleep, the world was doomed. When she awoke, it was dead.

In the wake of a fever that decimated the earth’s population—killing women and children and making childbirth deadly for the mother and infant—the midwife must pick her way through the bones of the world she once knew to find her place in this dangerous new one. Gone are the pillars of civilization. All that remains is power—and the strong who possess it.

A few women like her survived, though they are scarce. Even fewer are safe from the clans of men, who, driven by fear, seek to control those remaining. To preserve her freedom, she dons men’s clothing, goes by false names, and avoids as many people as possible. But as the world continues to grapple with its terrible circumstances, she’ll discover a role greater than chasing a pale imitation of independence.

After all, if humanity is to be reborn, someone must be its guide.


This is one of the many books I bought immediately after reading a sample, especially since it was only $1.99.  The trope of “last people at the end of the world” is common, of course, but the writing was so raw and realistic, I couldn’t help but be intrigued.  The “end” comes due to a pandemic,

but it kills more than 90% of the population, mostly women and children, utterly destroying any semblance of civilization…and I mean that literally with regards to the term “civilized.”

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The State of the Writer: 2/6/21

<–The State of the Writer: 1/23/22         The State of the Writer: 2/20/22–>

A post updated every other Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 1


Project: Story
Working Title:
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original
Length: Novel
Current Word Count: 10,684
Prior Word Count: 10,530
Word Difference: +154
Status: Adding line edits from notes
Progress:
Chapter 2

I wasn’t planning on adding more words to the draft, but as I was working on fitting in the line edits it just happened.  I was adding something near the end of where I’d stopped, and since I usually try to stop with a question, dialogue, or in the midst of some kind of action, it’s easy to prime my brain for what comes next.  It also doesn’t help that I love the sassy dialogue between my MC and her BFF.

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Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Title: Gone Girl
Author: Gillian Flynn
Date Added: June 14, 2013
Date Started: September 8, 2018
Date Finished: October 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 25 days
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mystery, Thriller, Drama, Crime Drama, Psychological Drama

Cover of Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnPages: 415
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Broadway Books
Media: Paperback


On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne’s fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick’s clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn’t doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife’s head, but passages from Amy’s diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media—as well as Amy’s fiercely doting parents—the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he’s definitely bitter—but is he really a killer?

As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn’t do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

With her razor-sharp writing and trademark psychological insight, Gillian Flynn delivers a fast-paced, devilishly dark, and ingeniously plotted thriller that confirms her status as one of the hottest writers around.

One of the most critically acclaimed suspense writers of our time, New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn takes that statement to its darkest place in this unputdownable masterpiece about a marriage gone terribly, terribly wrong. The Chicago Tribune proclaimed that her work “draws you in and keeps you reading with the force of a pure but nasty addiction.” Gone Girl’s toxic mix of sharp-edged wit and deliciously chilling prose creates a nerve-fraying thriller that confounds you at every turn.


Note: I’m going to split this into a Review section and an Analysis section.  The Analysis section will contain spoilers, and I’ll post another warning prior.


Review

I have to give Gillian Flynn props.

There is something…off about both Nick and Amy.  Flynn does an excellent job laying the groundwork for this paradigm, but not rushing the reveal.  It reaches the point where there’s no allegation too outlandish to consider, and that’s where the genius of Gone Girl lies.  I thought I had it all figured out, but all of my formulated theories were wrong.  The author is a master of the bait-and-switch misdirect, and I fell for all the red herrings.

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