Quick marathon training update!
I ran all of my miles last week in spite of feeling like the wrong side of a wrecked cab. YAY! I did not, however, make it to Crossfit more than once. I also completed only 45 minutes of yoga. This week will be better! My stride feels good, my motivation is high, and I have nothing precluding me from kicking ass and taking names. Sometimes, lacing up is the hardest part. Sometimes, it’s the complete lack of desire to wake up and put on a bra. The struggle is real.
Another small point of business before the book review. I GOT A PUPPY!!!! Ok, I adopted a seven month old shih tzu/havanese puppy–but, still–PUPPY!!! Her name is Montana Wildhack, (yes, I re-named her, yes after a character in Slaughterhouse Five. Yes, the porn star) and she’s all that’s lovey-dovey and playful. She’s a bit like a cat in that she prefers to be justthiscloserightontop of me when I’m writing, but we’re working on an agreement.
Right now, she looks all kinds of silly because I had to trim her face down to nearly the skin because of mats, but it’ll grow back soon enough.
In the last few days, I needed a “cleanse” from truly shitty novels (pun intended.) I’m working on a project that requires me to read an obscene amount of PNR, Contemporary romance, and historical romance. This is normally GREAT. However, when you’re mostly concerned with an even sampling, that means RANDOM, and random means, “omg wtf did I just read?!”
Truly, I have read some really terrible books lately.
Typically, when I need a palate cleanser, I turn to an old standby–Vonnegut, Austen, Alexie, Fitzgerald, or Bronte. I fill my mind with the quirky cadence of Cat’s Cradle, or the loving embrace of Northanger Abbey. The exquisitely-written prose is like a balm on my wounded psyche, providing curative energy that allows me to keep going.
This time, I went out on a limb with an author that I’d only read once before. However, I LOVED what I did read. So I figured that if I hated it, it still counted as research! (it fits into the parameters, but just barely.) However, I loved it like I love sugar and new socks.
Radiance by Grace Draven.
Yes, the MC is sort of muddy in color. Slate-ish. Unpolished chrome, even. Ok, fuck it, homeboy is gray. Not 50 Shades, though. Because homeboy isn’t a creepy stalker, either.
THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE
Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.
THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE
Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat, but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.
Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.
Why I loved it:
So many reasons. Let me try to flesh this out for you.
First, holy fuck the language. Grace Draven must be either A: a total word nerd, or B: a medievalist. How do I know this? She used one of my FAVORITE archaic words in Radiance: swive. Which was a PRECURSOR TO FUCK. It predates my favorite word. I adore using it, but I am really limited in my use of the old word, because, essentially, eight people know what it means.
The world building and sense of “place” in the text are insanely detailed, but not so overly detailed that the reader has no blanks in which to fill with their own imagination. She created an entirely different humanoid race, but it’s not like, say, a klingon, where they’re just…strange. These “kai” are just different enough as to be worrisome, but not different enough as to send you screaming.
Also, this was not a “let’s get naked and make babies at first sight” type of story. The relationship in this book built organically, and out of the bonds of trust and friendship. The attraction came with knowing the other person inside, as well as the skin they wear.
The action didn’t feel out of left-field like it sometimes does in fantasy. It wasn’t “and they were walking along, and a six-headed dragon lord decided to poop rainbows in their direction.” There was an even, slow build to the action that built the tension gradually, and served to fuel the romance in a manner I’ve not seen previously.
Radiance by Grace Draven is an epic fantasy romance that will convert even the most deeply-rooted detractors of the genre. The story may be the work of unbridled imagination, but the best traditions of classical storytelling shine through like a candle in the night. Much in the way an Elizabeth Hunter novel spans more than the alterity of the tomes, this book isn’t merely romance or merely fantasy, it elevates each aspect to make the whole something altogether more.
If Le Guin decided to start penning romance novels, Radiance would be the novel she’d read to prepare.
The food NOT inspired by the book.
Why is it not inspired by the book? Because the two dishes most prominently discussed in the book are A: plain potatoes, and B: a venomous and viperine insect that is baked(?) in a pot pie, and fights back. No fucking thank you. Four and Twenty Blackbirds was my previous pie nightmare, now? It’s killer bug pie.
I made cake.
Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Mug Cake.
and it’s good.
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 90 seconds
Keywords: microwave breakfast dessert side snack
- 2tbsp whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 tbsp whole milk
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tbsp butter (1 1/2 tsp)
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch baking powder
- 2 tbsp chocolate chips
- cooking spray
spray the inside of a mug with cooking spray
in another bowl combine all ingredients
pour into prepared mug
microwave on high 90 seconds