The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger is about the ancient mythic Heroine’s Journey, what it is, how it differs from the more studied Hero’s Journey, and why it’s important for both writers and readers/pop culture consumers to know about, all told in a witty and snarky manner.
Gail Carriger is one of my very favorite fiction authors and in The Heroine’s Journey she goes into what makes her books, and many other stories, so popular and beloved. Topics include The Heroine’s Journey itself, of course, some of it’s foundational myths, it’s messages and themes; why the Heroine’s Journey is important; specific points in how and where it differs from the Hero’s Journey; how the Gothics got involved and what effect they had; how to play with archetypes and tropes (neither of which make a story bad—they’re just patterns); and a practical guide to How To Write Like A Heroine.
The Heroine’s Journey is written not just for writers, but also for readers/watchers/listeners, so people can recognize better what they like and crave out of a story. It’s an easy, fast, informative, and fun read. I’m going to re-read The Heroine’s Journey several times, after my sister gets done reading it. I also bought a copy for my best friend. Go read it and enrich your life.
No Time to Spare is the curated and collected blog posts of Ursula K. Le Guin. Thoughtful, fun, rebellious—Le Guin’s musings are all of these things and more. Le Guin began blogging in her eighties, and the collected posts run from 2010 to 2016. The posts aren’t in chronological order, but rather are arranged according to theme, in sections. Thoughtful and thought-provoking, scattered with musings on her new cat, many of Le Guin’s observations are even more pertinent now than they were when she wrote them. I thoroughly enjoyed No Time to Spare and recommend it to fans of Ursula K. Le Guin and to those who’ve yet to discover her. I’ve known about Le Guin for some time but this is the first book of hers I’ve read, and now intend to read many more.
The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, is a YA (young adult) historical gay romance with a happy ending. Told in present tense, first person perspective. Monty, a young English Lord, is about to embark on his Grand Tour with his best friend and secret crush, Percy, a mixed race Peer. Along the way, they’re to drop off Percy’s sister, Felicity, at finishing school (no, not that Finishing School). But when Monty, in a fit of pique, steals something from the Duke of Bourbon, it sets off a chain of events that will see the party beset by highwaymen, pirates, and alchemists.
Monty and Percy have always been close but these last few years have seen Monty fall in love with Percy. Monty is a rake extraordinaire, flirting with and often bedding any young woman or man who takes his fancy. But with Percy it’s different. With Percy it’s love. Of course, Monty’s last affair with love saw him thrown out of school and beaten bloody by his father when it became known that his love was another boy. But Percy is worth the risk—if only Percy will realize Monty’s feelings are more than a fling. Continue reading “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue—Worth the Wait”→
Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, is the third and final book in the Dr. GretaHelsing series. Greta has been called in by a friend to temporarily run Oasis Natrun, an exclusive health clinic for mummies. Something is causing the patients to black out and it’s up to Greta to find out what. There’s also the matter of her best friend being cursed and needing to be taken to Hell, Sir Frances Varney proposing, and reality itself coming under attack.
1—The Whole Gang
All my favorite characters show up. Greta, of course. The vampire Ruthven and the vampyre Varney. But also the vampires Grisaille (who’s now Ruthven’s sweetie) and Emily from the second book. And from the first book there’s Cranswell—Ruthven’s friend who works at a London museum—and Nadezhda, Hippolyta, and Anna, Greta’s team at her London clinic. Not everyone gets a starring role, of course, but they’re all there. And there are new people to meet too—mummies, and angels, and Dr. Faust himself.
A week of depression hit, followed by finals week, so I’m still not done with my new fiction book, but I’m getting close. I did finish my non-fiction book, Audio for Authors by Joanna Penn. Highly recommended for anyone of the writerly persuasion curious about doing audiobooks—how to do it, why to do it, etc—podcasting—why to do it, types of podcasts, etc—or using voice technology—AI, voice assistants, dictation, etc. I loved this book and I’ll be rereading it. (Also, if you want more of this kind of information, check out intro and futurist segments of Joanna’s podcast, The Creative Penn.)
My two book system worked to get me through the last new book I read, but I haven’t needed it this week. I haven’t yet finished the new book (Grave Importance, by Vivian Shaw, book three in the Dr. Greta Helsing series) I’m reading, but I have managed to read just my new book without resorting to the old favorite (Curtsies and Conspiracies, by Gail Carriger, book two in the Finishing School series) this week. I have been reading some of my non-fiction book (Dreyer’s English, by Benjamin Dreyer), but that doesn’t take as much time as reading the old favorite, and I didn’t switch to it to come down from anxiety so much as because I just wanted to. Also I’ve often gone back to the Grave Importance after, which I’m about 1/3 of the way through! And though I haven’t managed to read every day this week, I’ve read more days of the week than not, which I consider another big win. All in all, I’m happy with my current reading progress.
Beneath the Sugar Sky, a novella by Seanan McGuire, finds us back in Eleanore West’s Home for Wayward Children—where the children who go to another world and then come back to ours go in hopes of finding their way back to that other world. When a girl in a cotton candy dress falls out of the sky and into the turtle pond, the students find their questing days aren’t yet over.
Rini—the girl who fell out of the sky—has come to get her mother Sumi and bring her back to the world of Confection—except was murdered in the first book in the Wayward Children series. Rini, Kade, Cora, Nadya, and Christopher decide to go on a quest to resurrect Sumi before the Queen of Cakes—whom Sumi was supposed to/will defeat—comes back from her own death to oppress Confection. Also, so Rini can exist in the first place—pieces of her keep disappearing. But first they have to find all the parts of Sumi—her bones, her soul, her shadow/nonsense. And to do that, they’ll have to travel to various worlds that aren’t quite home—but might be closer to home than Earth is. Continue reading “Beneath the Sugar Sky—Living Statues and Soda Seas”→
Meat Cute, a short story by Gail Carriger, is the story of how Miss Alexia Tarabotti and Lord Maccon meet. If those names mean nothing to you, that’s ok, this story is really for the fans of the Parasolverse.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, which is, as of this writing, the only version of Meat Cute in print, but it’s available in ebook and audio book.
Basically, Sophronia and Soap set up Alexia and Connal to meet. Takes place just before Soulless. There’s other Easter eggs in the story, if you’ve read ALL the Parasolverse stories, but even if you’ve only read the novels, or just the Finishing School series or just the Parasol Protectorate, you should like this short story. If you have not read either of those, maybe wait until you have to read Meat Cute. But yeah, I adored this little gem.
Romancing the Inventor, a novella by Gail Carriger, follows Imogene, a maid at a vampire hive, as she falls in love with a heartbroken lady inventor.
Heat level, open door on the sex scenes but not terribly graphic.
Note: I read this story as part of a limited-edition and out-of-print omnibus collection, Fan Service, but Romancing the Inventor is available as a stand-alone.
Everyone thinks Imogene arrogant because she won’t take a husband, but the truth is that no man appeals to her. She secretly pines for women, a thing illegal in Victorian England. So Imogene takes a job as a maid with the local vampire hive, hoping the countess might take an interest in her—supernaturals are exceptions to the law—but the countess, indeed all the vampires, ignore her. Continue reading “Romancing the Inventor—Unexpected Chances”→