The State of the Reader: 3/8/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 37 days

The second book in the series was a bit slower and just a tad weaker than the first.  This is not to say there weren’t parts that sent a chill down my spine and a thrill through my heart, but Ronan is a tough character to follow.  He does reckless things that are both hard to explain and difficult to understand even knowing his situation.  You feel bad for him, but then you grow exasperated with him due to his acerbic nature and cutting attitude.  He’s of “beg for forgiveness instead of ask for permission” crowd, acts on impulse, and doesn’t seem to care about the fallout.

I’m going to try to review this by next weekend.  That will give it time to marinate in my mind so I can better express my thoughts.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 18 days
Media: PDF/Kindle

I finished my friend’s wonderful novel and am now left with an issue.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  You’re probably thinking this is a good thing, but as I said last week, writers thrive on constructive criticism and I don’t have any to give.  Besides some minor typos, there’s nothing I’d change about the narrative.  The only thing I can possibly question is his audience.  I believe this is supposed to be a YA, but there’s some language and one particularly graphic scene.  However, The Dream Thieves is also apparently YA and it has strong language, too.  Regardless what I’m going to say, I’m happy and honored I was able to read this, and I can’t wait to see it on bookshelves.

Update: I sent him my feedback through FB messenger, and he was genuinely delighted.  This is a polished edition of the story, so he was quite happy that I didn’t find any major issues.  He also sent me the companion book to this one, which I’m excited to read so I can get the other side of the story.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Purchased: March 4, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $5.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Series Title: Gentlemen Bastards
Author: Scott Lynch
Date Added: October 11, 2012
Date Purchased: March 7, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

I was going through my downloaded-prior bookshelf on GR just to see if anything was on Amazon (Kindle) for cheap.  I almost bought another book that was $2.99, but decided to keep my limit at under $2.00.  There are still some situations where a physical copy is less expensive than Kindle.  In this case though, the price was more than right for a book that’s also on my really-want-to-read shelf.

Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 12%

In karaoke there’s a concept called “sing and bring.”  It entails bringing up the next song you want to sing when you’re name is called to sing the last song you put in.  For some reason, I’m thinking about that as I read and add these books.  In all honesty, I consider this series just one long story.  As I finish the last, I immediately buy and add the next.  I’m hoping this installment delves into Blue’s origins.  We were given drips and drops about it in the first; absolutely no mention of it in the second (since that concerned Ronan), so I’m hoping we discover more about her elusive father with the ridiculous nickname.  I have my own theories about him, but we’ll see if I’m right when I read it.

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Started: March 3, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 20%

This novel reminds me great of Strange Things.  Power outages, parallel universes, strange girls.  The main characters are two brothers, and I’ve found that sometimes if characters are too similar, it can be difficult to keep track, but Brady is the elder and more cautious, while Felix is the adventurous child prodigy.  I’m excited to see where this goes.  The tension just keeps tightening.

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 34%

I’m kind of in a stride with this book.  It doesn’t overly excite me to read it, but I don’t dread when it’s in the rotation, and it’s kind of a “Hm, I wonder what the Prospero siblings are up to now.”  It’s like catching up with friends who have hobbies that aren’t your interest, but you care about them, because they’re their hobbies.  Like The Quantum Door, the author manages to differentiate the siblings so that I don’t have to constantly remind myself who’s who, though so far there have only been two others introduced besides the main character Miranda.

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 34%

I have a bit of a confession…I’m starting to lose interest in this book.  I know. I know.  I’ve been talking about studying astrophysics and quantum physics, so how dare I falter a book about the same.  It’s certainly not a slight on Professor Hawking’s writing, but he has such a brilliant mind that I have to concentrate fully in order to absorb all of the information, and for many reasons, my mind tends to wander, and concentration can be a difficult beast to catch.  I do wonder how I would do with this topic in a classroom setting.  I’m going to keep reading especially since I’m almost finished the first part.  What I may do is read that, which I’d count as one book (this version just happens to have both), and then I’d read another reference book in the interim (The Hyrule Historia.  I already know) before returning to read The Universe in a Nutshell.  I’d figure out the logistics on Goodreads later.

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 67%

So the king found out what his asshole nephews did, but it was at the end of a chapter.  The poor handmaiden told him, and he not only believed her, but made her his own queen and promised vengeance.  I cannot wait to read the next chapter.  Oh, you have no idea how much I love righteous vengeance (if you’re reading myThe Broken Rose fanfiction, you’ll find out in a later chapter.  Shit.  Gets.  Real).

Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

No chapter updates for a while, per her last reply to my comment.  She has to take care of some personal shenanigans (which I totally understand) so like I do to so many of my readers, I shall have to wait.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastian de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017

There’s a kick ass review of this over on Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog, and it was so, er, explosive (you’ll understand how dirty that joke was if you go to her blog.  I’m a mess…hahaha *gross*) I had to add this book.  Plus the series is called Greatcoats.  I love greatcoats aka long coats aka badass longcoats.

Title: Descendants
Series Title: The Arete Series
Author: Rae Else
Date Added: March 5, 2017

I had the honor of being asked by another author to beta read their work, this one in the form of an eArc.  I downloaded it on my Kindle this evening and am going to try to get to it before release date April 12.  Either way, I’m going to purchase to support the author whose blog (and the post about the book in question) can be found here!

Title: Gathering Blue
Series Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Date Added: March 7. 2017

I had no idea The Giver had a sequel and was a series (I think there are least four books in it).  I read the series opener a long time ago back in high school, and I have not seen the movie.  I liked the book’s ending.  It was ambiguous, bittersweet, and made sense for the type of novel it was.  I heard the movie went a different direction, because people tend to like happy endings.  Since I haven’t seen it, I can’t really judge whether or not this was a good move.

I was going through all of the books I’ve marked as read on Goodreads, and it’s less than 400!  I’ve read many more books than that, but memory is not always kind to the Shameful Narcissist, so while I’m pretty sure I’ve read over a thousand books, fucked if I can remember what they are.  I can envision my high school’s library, and I’m trying to imagine myself walking through the sections I used to haunt in an attempt to recall the books I found and read there.  I’m trying the same thing with my old local library and bookstore.  What I could do is look at the books I’ve read on Amazon and see what the recommendations are in an attempt to jog my memory.  This will have to be another organizational project though.

Either way, I added a bunch of Ms. Lowry’s Anastasia series, which I read ad nauseum as a teenager (if you haven’t read her Autumn Street do it.  It’s a book about racism as seen through the eyes of a child), and that’s when I noticed this unknown series for a book I read years ago.

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Date Added: March 8, 2017

A Beauty and the Beast retelling that comes with high acclaim, or at least one of my Goodreads’ friends gave it high marks.  It’s average rating is above 4.00, which means quite a few people found it worthy.  I love fairy tale retellings, and I use fairy tales a lot in my own works both fanfiction and original, so finding one is almost always an insta-add.  I like to see how other authors shuffle the well known narrative and tropes around, and I’m obviously not above doing a bit of shuffling myself.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 443
Change from Last Week: +3

A Sample Question

So I download samples to my Kindle and decide what to keep, what to put on my really-want-to-read shelf, and what to put in my passed-based-on-sample shelf.  I don’t include these because I generally don’t talk about books I’ve removed, and anything I put on an additional shelf is already on my TBR list.  I could start including what samples I’ve downloaded if you’d be interested in that.  Since I’d be talking about what either attracts me to or repels me from a book, it could make for some interesting conversation.  Let me know your thoughts down below!

What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>








22 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 3/8/17

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 3/1/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. I’m so excited that you picked up The Lies of Locke Lamora! I can’t wait to see what you think of it.
    I would be interested in your opinion of the samples you read. Could help steer me away from garbage or towards delightful reads. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read a sample of it like six months ago, and threw it on my really-want-to-read list. I’ve been scouring Amazon at lunch time looking for cheap Kindle books, and lo and behold, this was only $1.99. That’s an instabuy. Anything under $2.00.

      I’m going to do the sample thing. Why the hell now lol. I just downloaded another batch of 11. I’ve been reading one during my lunch break. The one I read today Half a King…holy shit. That’s on my “really-want-to-read” list now. The writing is so concise and raw, yet poetic in its brutality. I probably have so many gems floating around my TBR list just waiting to be discovered, and I probably have a ton of not so great books, too, waiting to be ousted :p

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Honoured to be on your TBR list – thanks again. I’m in awe of how much you’re reading – brilliant! Some excellent recommendations here – will definitely be adding some to my Goodreads list. What’s your high school friend’s book called – will it be listed on Amazon or Goodreads soon? Would love to check it out. I laughed at your forgetting books that you’ve read and envisaging the old school library. It’s so true – before the digital age, we just didn’t correlate the lists that we do now. To think of all those books that we’ve read, but can’t quite remember, it makes me kind of sad. I think I will do a similar project to yours over time. Take care and happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the Kindle that makes it all possible to be honest! I do a bunch of reading on my lunch break, and that little device is such a God send.

      It’s not published as of yet! He does have an agent, but may or may not be going with them depending! I hope it will be on both within the year! I’ll let you know when it does; actually, I could just recommend it to you on Goodreads :p

      I wish I could remember all the books I’ve read! I can envision the library, but specific book titles just aren’t very forthcoming. Ah well, I’m sure I’ll remember the important ones in due time.


  4. I downloaded the sample of the first Raven Boys book, but I had trouble getting into it. I could only read a few paragraphs before I lost interest. I think it’s because my mind is constantly screaming “OMG Zelda is awesome!!”, haha. I’ll give it another shot soon.

    I’m happy to hear your friend’s book turned out awesome! Let me know when it hits the bookshelves and I will definitely buy a copy.

    On a somewhat unrelated note, I can’t wait for Stranger Things season 2! Oh and righteous vengeance is truly fantastic. I can’t wait to see what happens 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • You need to get the Zelda out of your system! But if the book isn’t your style I won’t be upset :p

      I definitely will! I’m keeping the details a bit hush since the book isn’t out yet, and it’s up to him as the author to reveal what he’d like. It’s a YA, contemporary (I think that’s what those are called). It’s not a fantasy book lol; that I do know.

      Halloween! That’s when season 2 comes out, and oh, it’s delightful…and horrifying.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I would definitely be interested in reading your thoughts on various kindle samples. I have a kindle as well and it’s always nice to gets a heads up of good books, especially ones with good deals like we can often find on the kindle. 🙂
    I’m pretty excited that you have The Lies of Locke Lamora now! It’s sitting on my bookshelf waiting to be read sometime in the near future so it will be great to read your thoughts on it. 🙂 I’ve started it a couple times and been side tracked for some reason or another but what I’ve read of it is excellent.
    That’s so great to hear that your friend’s book you read turned out so great. They must be so thrilled and proud to have gotten such positive feedback from you on it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well that seals it then! Everyone who’s commented has done so in the affirmative, and I’ve already been organizing it anyway lol.

      I read a sample a while ago, and really liked it! It was so cheap I couldn’t help but purchase it. I breeze through books on my Kindle and usually read two at a time. I’m currently in the midst of an amazing series, so that’ll take up one slot for a while, but I’m sure I’ll be able to fit it into the other soon! I want to read Kindle stories as I download/buy them, and it’s not far down in the rotation.

      I’m super excited to see it on bookshelves, and he sent me the companion novel to it the other day. I need to remember to throw that on my Kindle, but I don’t think he’s looking for feedback on it. It was just a nice gesture. I do have an eArc request from another author friend, so I may make that my next Kindle read though I may not make her release deadline.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Giving feedback on a pal’s novel must be tough. If the book is naff you don’t want to hurt their feelings by saying so and on the flip side if the book is brill any positives you say may come across as being biased due to your relationship.

    A former co-worker asked me to critique his book many moons ago and I declined because of those concerns. That and I don’t have time to read much because my gaming backlog is enormous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It can definitely be difficult! I have had to give some harsh criticism, and it was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I HATE hurting peoples’ feelings, and because I’m a writer, I know how difficult it can be to hear harsh critiques of your work, but I also know that concrit is really necessary in order to improve. I’ve honed a way to tell people what I think they need to hear in a nice way. I once had to give some harsh crit to my BFF and ughhhh yes, it was rough, but her writing has improved so much, and she has several books published now. Now I can’t say that it was due to my concrit, because writing generally improves with age and experience. I have a pretty good rapport with a few people whom I prefer swapping things with because I know they’ll critique my work in a way that won’t utterly destroy my hypersensitive self.

      The juggle and struggle of having a growing backlog (currently 105) and burgeoning TBR list (still over 400 wtf?) is totally real. Being honest with your coworker was the best thing you could do. I’ve been turning down beta opportunities because I know I don’t have the time to do it and/or I know it’s not my kind of book so my feedback might not be the best.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 3/15/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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