The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (DNF)

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Date Added: September 23, 2012
Date Started: March 24, 2018
Date DNF: March 24, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Supernatural

The Lovely BonesPages: 328
Publication Date: July 3, 2002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Media: Paperback

The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

I bought this to read with the hopes the end of the book wasn’t the same as the ending of the movie, that the filmmakers took some strange liberties and Sebold did write a comeuppance for the piece of shit pedophile-murderer who lured Susie to her assault and death.

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Strange Luck by Amie Irene Winters (Strange Luck #1) (DNF)

Title: Strange Luck
Series Title: Strange Luck
Author: Amie Irene Winters
Date Added: February 26, 2016
Date Started: March 13, 2018
Date DNF: March 21, 2018
Reading Duration: 7 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Strange LuckPages: 296
Publication Date: June 2015
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

A Mysterious Letter.
A Deadly Discovery.
A World Like Nothing You’ve Ever Seen.

All Daisy Darling wanted was to be a writer. What she got was more than she bargained for. As it turns out, the quaint little town of Sea Salt, California houses more than adorable cottages and huge redwood trees. Beneath the coastal charm rests a strange world where wizards, fairies, time-altering portals, and dark magic looms.

A world where memories can be your greatest currency–and weapon.

A world where you can never reclaim what’s been taken from you.

After stumbling into the mysterious world, Daisy’s memories begin to rapidly disintegrate, but she doesn’t even know she’s losing them. As if things couldn’t get any worse, Daisy learns she is the only one who can save herself.

Daisy’s very identity is at stake, but the odds aren’t in her favor. Can she discover the secret to win back her freedom before it’s too late?

I added this to my TBR list because the main character’s sole dream was to be a writer, and that was something I could relate to.  I initially liked Daisy, and I think she deserved better supporting characters (I did like her until she shit-talked cats grrrr).  Her father is supposed to be sympathetic, but he comes off as a selfish dick wanting her to take over the shop so that he can hunt for Utopia while she puts her dreams of going to London on a hold.  What kind of parent would do that to their child?  It’s bad enough he tries to guilt her into staying in order to continue the family business when that’s not what she wants, but then he decides he’s going to foist the shop off on her while he goes on an adventure.

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The State of the Reader: 12/5/18

<–The State of the Reader: 10/24/18          The State of the Reader: 12/19/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 9

Books DNF: 2

  • A Lick of Frost by Laurell K. Hamilton (Meredith Gentry) – Somehow or another LKH made silver hair boring.  I didn’t think that was possible, but she did it.  “But his hair was uniquely his own, silver, like metal beaten into hair.”  Are you…fucking…kidding me?  I didn’t even finish the first chapter and I took the rest of her books of my TBR list.  I love her earlier work, but you can tell she now only cares about collecting a check.
  • The Stillness of the Sky by Starla Huchton (Flipped Fairy Tales) – Fuck abusive parents and fuck kindness when you’re being abused.  I know I have a huge issue with blaming the victim in stories like this.  I want to shake them and tell them to not put up with it, even though I know intellectually that that’s not fair.  It’s not the victim’s fault their abusers are trash.  I’m much more cognizant of it in real life, but in stories I hate a particular type of naivete in protagonists.  I think I hate when naivete is unrealistic even for fairy tales.  The MC is actually shocked her drunken, abusive father is willing to sell her to a whorehouse in order to pay his debts and continue to get his fix.  It just bugged me that she wouldn’t expect this from a man who’s done nothing but beat and belittle her since her mother left.  This is a Jack and the Beanstalk retelling, which isn’t one of my favorite stories in the first place, and I’m not invested enough in the character.  The ironic thing is this story is what got me interested in the Flipped Fairy Tale series in the first place.  I added it then realized it was the “second” in the compendium so I read Shadows on Snow first,which was okay.  It’s not like they’re in any order; I think it’s just the order Huchton wrote them.

Books Finished: 5

Title: Alex + Ada: The Complete Collection
Series Title: Alex + Ada
Author: Jonathan Luna
Artist: Sarah Vaugn
Date Added: October 28, 2016
Date Started: June 17, 2018
Date Finished: October 28, 2018
Reading Duration: 133 days

Alex + AdaIt didn’t take me this long to read this entire collection; I just split it up to pad my reading total.  The Complete Collection is made up of three books, but I read the one pictured above.  People rated the second and third higher than the first, and I’m not really sure why.  It’s an excellent series, and even though it doesn’t do anything new, it refines many previously touched on points in fiction involving AI sentience.

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Opal by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4.5)

The Raven Cycle

<–The Raven King (TRC #4)

Title: Opal
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: February 28, 2018
Date Started: March 13, 2018
Date Finished: March 14, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA),  Romance, LGBTQ+

Opal coverPages: 38
Publication Date: March 1, 2018
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle

An enchanting story from Maggie Stiefvater featuring Opal, Ronan, and Adam from her bestselling Raven Cycle, taking place after the events of The Raven King.

Dreamers have to dream just like writers have to write.  Not doing so is killing Ronan inside, putting a strain on the dreaming place he created, where the titular Opal resides, as well as his and Adam’s relationship.  This short showcases Stiefvater’s exquisite and eloquent writing style, which made up for the fact I barely remembered who Opal even was in the larger story.  She wasn’t one of my favorite characters, though her way of thinking and speaking was not only quaint, it forced you to figure out what was going on due to its simplicity and misunderstanding all the details of the “animal world” (the one the human characters reside in).  The story was quick enough that my minor issues with it didn’t have enough time to mature and irritate me.

4 stars.

The State of the Writer: 12/2/18

<–The State of the Writer: 10/21/18          The State of the Writer: 12/16/18–>

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

Finished Projects: 5

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 255,520
Prior Word Count: 255,753
Word Difference: -233
Status: Editing
Progress: Chapter 13 First Edit

I made more progress on editing this story than I did on writing the one I’ll discuss below, but such is life.  I have a brief scene to add to Chapter 13, but preliminary assessments tell me it’s not going to be too difficult to edit and get out.

I still need to post the last few chapters on Deviant Art.  It’s the most difficult site to put fanfiction on, though.  They don’t make it easy, which is a shame.  I also need to make sure I have the permission of any Deviant Artists’ artwork I might have used, which is another complication of the site.

Project: Story Audio Recording
Northern Lights
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Status: Preparation
Progress: Planning Chapter 1 recording

I am super excited I finally finished and posted the blurb.  That only took me six months #lolsob  I actually did two versions.  The one that’s up on YouTube now and another one with licensed music that I haven’t bought the subscription for yet.  It’s…kind of ironic I suppose that I have the one with copyrighted music posted (and I hope it’s considered fair use since I gave credit and I’m making no money off of it), but not the licensed.  I plan to use the site ( for the audio recording, but I think I’m going to wait until after the holidays to purchase a yearly subscription.  What’s nice is you can download their music prior to purchasing the license to try it out, so I’d be able to put it into the recordings, but of course I won’t actually post that anywhere until I have the proper permissions.

I have a full recording of Chapter 1 on my phone, but I’m going to do another one with my better microphone (Yeti for the curious).  If my voice behaves, I’ll do some recording on Tuesday.  Right now it’s not that great, and I know it’s because of my asthma medicine.  I’m going to try gargling with salt water tonight.  If I have to, I’ll avoid taking the one med on Monday in hopes I have a voice to work with on Tuesday.

Project: Story
Working Title: 
The High Archon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Original Novel
Current Word Count: 2408
Status: Drafting
Progress: Chapter 1/Setting up the foundation

Picture Source (Upper Left) – Autumn Fairy by JanainaArt
Picture Source (Bottom Left) – Rose in Blood by Kawaielli (Deactivated Deviant Art)

I spent NaNoWriMo plodding through the first chapter of this and I’m still not finished.  Every story I write presents a new challenge, and for this one, the main characters/love interests don’t meet until about halfway through.  I wanted to give a glimpse of the main character’s life before the horrifying inciting incident because, while readers will have a visceral reaction to the attack, it’s much worse if you know the person and what they were like beforehand and how it devastates them afterwards.

Maya is a confident and talented young woman who’s been aware of her “destiny” all of her life.  While being promised to the de facto ruler of the world might be a bit daunting, it’s never frightened her, because she lives in a world with no precedent for such.  But after the inciting incident, her point of view changes drastically.  While building the foundation is a bit boring for me (and I’ll need to brutally edit to make sure it’s not boring for any readers), it’s essential to laying the groundwork for her character prior.  At least I have a lot of this earlier part physically written down from last year’s NaNo attempt, so I have some guidelines to go on.

I’ve included drafting this into my schedule along with editing TBR and working on the audio for NL.  We shall see how it goes!

In Progress

  • Game Review: Final Fantasy V – Now that NaNo is over, I’ve put this back on my schedule.  I’m hoping to have it out before the end of the year.
  • Final Fantasy Character Assessment: Kain Highwind- Since FFVII and FFIX characters are out until I replay, I’ve made some progress with Kain’s.  I’ll probably do a switch off between IV and VI unless I attempt to tackle one of the four from V.

Yes, I’m back.  As fore mentioned NaNo wasn’t as productive as I would’ve like it to have been but that’s the way it goes.  Now that it’s December of course I’m going to be busy with holiday shenanigans, but I’m going to try to keep up with writing anyway.  Editing TBR is honestly the easier project in that category since I can just sort of hop in when I have some time and go over a paragraph or two.  Drafting a story takes more because it’s the act of creation, and while audio recording might not be as cerebral, it requires much more set up and a quiet space.

How was everyone’s November?  If you’re a fellow Stater, how was your Thanksgiving?  We still have leftovers lol.

<–The State of the Writer: 10/21/18          The State of the Writer: 12/16/18–>

The Golden Apple by Michelle Diener (The Dark Forest #1)

Title: The Golden Apple
Series Title: The Dark Forest
Author: Michelle Diener
Date Added: February 25, 2016
Date Started: February 20, 2018
Date Finished: March 12, 2018
Reading Duration: 20 days
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Fairy Tale, Young Adult (YA)

The Golden ApplePages: 298
Publication Date: March 23, 2014
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

Kayla’s world has been turned upside-down . . . 

Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake.

Rane’s honor is torn in two… 

In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to–including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy.

Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together . . . 

Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla’s actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.

The Golden Apple is loosely based on the fairy tale The Princess on the Glass Hill.

Per the blurb The Golden Apple starts with “The Princess on the Glass Hill,” which is not a fairy tale I was familiar with, but it follows the typical fairy tale rules.  The unlikely hero is Cinder Lad, the youngest brother of three who’s ridiculed, bullied, and forced to live among the ashes.  However, he was the only one brave enough to stay in the barn the entire night when the noises outside frightened his two eldest brothers away.  The source of the noise was a copper laden horse the first night, a silver chased one the second, and a gold bound one the third.  When the king offers up his daughter to the man who can climb the glass hill and retrieve three apples, the two older brothers mock Cinder Lad for even thinking to participate, but then they and all the other men are bemused when a knight in copper armor on a copper laden horse rides up a third of the hill before backing down again.  The princess tosses him one of the apples before he rides away.  The next day comes the silver chased who goes two-thirds of the way up for a second apple, and finally the gold bound goes the full tilt to win the third fruit and princess’ hand, half the kingdom, and his brothers’ shock because SURPRISE it’s Cinder Lad.

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The Broken Rose: Chapter 12 – Ways and Means

The Broken Rose Page

<–Chapter 11                                                                                                                                 Chapter 13–>

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII, its characters, and settings are all property of Square Enix so I can take no credit nor claim any ownership of that. I do take some credit for the story’s plot.
Banner Artwork Disclaimer:  The featured artwork for the banner is entitled White rose I and was created by the very talented Deviant Artist RemusSirion who was gracious enough to grant me permission to use it here.  The picture has been slightly altered from the original. All rights belong to the artist, and links are included for both the artist page and the work.


Consistent and sustained graphic descriptions and mentions of rape/ sexual assault, sexual slavery/bondage, slavery, human trafficking, physical abuse, graphic descriptions of violence, mental abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, body shaming, starvation, torture, forced pregnancy, forced childbirth, miscarriage, forced miscarriage, abortion, and other potential disturbing and triggering topics.

Aeris must make her biggest decision since her rescue two months ago.

Painting of Aeris/Aerith.

Painting of Aeris/Aerith. She is looking wide-eyed off to the left with very red and slightly parted lips. She has a large red rose in her long brown hair. Her eyes are a huge and vibrant green. The background is lighter green. Chapter 12 Ways and Means is in the upper left corner in a slightly darker green than the background.

Sephiroth wandered around the kitchen with his phone couched in his right hand.  Heavy boots made no sound on the floor though his hair whispered against his coat.  He could silence that, too, if he so wished, but there was no need for stealth now.  During his hunt, he’d thought of his rose and how she slept safe and secure.  He did not smile to not crack the mask, but emerald filled the darkest corners.  No monster that evening could stand a chance against a righteous protector’s wrath, and the Great General only wished it was Midgar that burned within his sight.  Not yet, the reckoning will come at its proper time. 

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