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: 1
Title: Men of Greywater Station
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Added: March 14, 2017
Date Started: March 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 14, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction
Publication Date: June 1976
Publisher: Pocket Books
I decided to read this yesterday after listening to Preston Jacobs’s review of another GRRM short story (which is why it was never on my TBR or Currently Reading lists), the name of which I can’t recall now. Preston’s review of Greywater is right here though for the interested, and the link to the story itself is above (just click “Online”). It was a quick read at only 29 pages. There are also links to listen to the audio or read the short on Preston’s review, which is how I was able to do so.
I’m not going to write a review of it since I linked to Preston’s more than serviceable one, but I will say that I correctly guessed what was really going on. I’m becoming used to the paradigms Martin uses. Like most authors he falls into a pattern and recycles his own motifs. I have absolutely no problem with this as a writer who does the same. I truly believe that GRRM has already “given away” the ending of Song in his prior tales. It’s just the matter of divining how to put the pieces together. Martin is an extremely subtle writer, and he requires a bit of intelligence and introspection from his readers. He’s not just going to give you the answer or lay the meaning bare. Rather, he’s going to make you dig for it and question it even after you’re certain you know the truth (it reminds me of a certain game I love).
Speaking of which (symbolically), I’m almost certain that one of Dany’s dragons is going to be injured in a way to lose a wing, and I’m saying that because Martin has done this before. Literally in The Ice Dragon and metaphorically in Windhaven (one of the parts is literally called “One-Wing”). As mentioned above, Martin recycles motifs, and reading his short stories, you see similar paradigms as the ones in Song;: hive-minded, mind controlling entities, civilizations existing after some great cataclysm, portents from the sky that are actual spaceships/aliens, humans usurping the land from the original inhabitants, etc. (okay…this is not to beat a dead horse, but all of these things are also paradigms in FFVII.in some way. The civilization after a cataclysm fits if you look at all of the games as on one timeline and remember what happened in FFVI. That’s all I’m going to say about this for now, since the plans to write those essays are still go). This is my only original prediction for Song’s seventh season (omg…). All the other ones I prescribe to were created by righteous others.
Samples Read This Week: 5
- Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett: Kept – It starts off in a bar and introduces questions, issues, and a potential supernatural bar fight, which is enough to keep me interested. Nor can I forget that I found this through one of Kim’s (or By Hook or By Book) reviews!
- Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks Kept – The main character’s name is Sepora who’s fleeing a father who wants to exploit her special abilities. Huh. This was another one I found due to Kim 🙂
- The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Kept – This was recommended to me a while ago by the lovely writer of The Ink Garden. The writing is lush and brilliant, and the opening chapter entices you into a world of secrets and intrigue.
- The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker: Kept/RWTR – Not only did I keep this, I put it on my really-want-to-read bookshelf (RWTR). The beginning is brutal in showcasing the realities of war, exile, and the diseases and depravities that almost always follow. Raw and beautiful is one of my favorite styles of writing (it’s what I try to emulate).
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Kept/RWTR – Give me stories based on fairy tales any day of the week. There’s also a Song parallel in the description of the character Frost as a “blue-eyed winter demon,” especially considering he’s the king of winter (common paradigms are common). It’s odd though. This is another story based on Vasilisa the Beautiful, the same as Vassa in the Night, which I didn’t finish. The writing in Bear/Nightingale is so much more lush and atmospheric than Vassa. Plus it’s not an urban fantasy or YA.
Books Purchased This Week: 2
Title: Half a King
Series Title: Shattered Sea
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date Added: July 14, 2015
Date Purchased: March 3, 2017
The writing in this is both poetic and brutal. I bought the book immediately after I read the sample and added it to m really-want-to read bookshelf.
Title: The Red Heir
Series Title: The World Reborn
Author: Holden R. Johnson
Date Added: March 12, 2017
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
One of the things I love about this series is how you never know what the next chapter is going to focus on, and honestly, they way they’re set up reminds me a bit of a GRRM’s Song. Each one centers on one character, and it’s kind of third person, limited perspective, though if the chapter in question hones in one of the psychics, the horizons are a bit broader. The author also doesn’t tell you which character the chapter is about, but rather lets you guess through the text
Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Started: March 3, 2017
I’m still enjoying this story, but I definitely felt stronger about the buildup to the boys going through the door (no real spoilers. I’m assuming you know it was bound to happen with a title like “Quantum Door”). The author does still keep the tension up, but I kind of feel like the characters from our side would be far more demanding about what’s going on on the other. This was one of my issues with Magonia, though QD isn’t nearly as bad as that.
Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017
I’m not sure how to explain this. I don’t hate this book; I don’t dislike it and frankly even enjoy it. The characters are well delineated, and I like their personalities. There was even something introduced in the last chapter that again caught my interest. That being said, the author introduces a lot of situations and unseen characters only the main ones knew or know, which I understand is valid for people who have been alive for over 500 years, but Miranda often spends paragraphs if not pages going back to some time in her or her family’s past, and it takes you out of the story. There are also just so many ideas and concepts that they all become kind of muddled.
What I’m trying to say is I may be shelving this before I complete it, but I almost want to make a separate bookshelf along with the DNF one. I could see myself picking this up again one day. Maybe I’ll create a shelf called “Unfinished” to differentiate the books I won’t finish reading from the books I’ve just put aside. Again, it’s not that I’m not enjoying this novel, but I know there are so many other books that I’d probably breeze through because they’d hold my interest fully instead of mildly. I’m still on the fence about whether or not I’m going to do this, though, so stay tuned.
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
I’ve come to the conclusion that I am not going to study astro/quantum physics (I’m sorry Cupcakes and Machetes!). Oh, it’s fascinating and mind-blowing, but I don’t think it’s for me. I realize that I want to know enough to be able to write about it on a symbolic level. What the hell does that mean? Well if I’m writing about a character who’s alien (or part alien) and he’s looking up at the stars in trepidation for what they might contain, I want to have some foundation of the sense of the space between those stars and galaxies, but I don’t need to know the exact measure of them. I want to be able to wax poetic about binary star systems, neutron stars, and pulsars, but I don’t need to know how to measure how hot or ancient they are. Just knowing that they are is good enough for me.
So I’m going to finish the first book in this, A Brief History of Time, which will still count as one book. Then I’ll put just The Universe in a Nutshell on my TBR list.
Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016
So the asshole brothers were punished, though I’m not sure I’m satisfied with the punishment. Though the king did strip their literal humanity away from them for three years, forcing them to live as three different kinds of beasts. That is a sort of assault since rape takes away the victim’s humanity. I’m not one for eye for an eye punishment in real life, but I accept it (and often write it) in stories.
Fanfictions Finished: 0
Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1
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: 2
Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Fandom: Dragon Age
I’m branching out in my fanfics! I used to only read FFVII with an Aeriseph pairing, but horizons need to be expanded, and good writing is good writing. I don’t remember where or how I found this one, but I actually forgot about it. It’s because of the more recent fanfiction I added that I remembered it at all. I have a list of fanfics to be read just like a have my book list, but because the fanfics are organized (sort of) and orderly (again sort of) on OneNote, and I don’t have a website based systematic process for cataloguing them, I have to use my forgetful, old brain, and it is not really up to the task.
I’m going to start adding them into my reading rotation. This one has 15 chapters, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do, but since runicmagitek told me in her last comment that she’s not updating until at least April, I at least have some time.
Update: I am ridiculous. I knew Athene of AmbiGaming.that name looked familiar! This fanfiction is by none other than our own I was thinking about her as I read the fandom, musing, “Huh, I wonder what Athene of AmbiGaming would think about this Dragon Age fanfiction.” So this is definitely going into my “read next” pile, and I’m kicking myself for not delving into it before.
Title: Thicker Than Blood
Authors: MiriamArnott & tobemadeofglass
Fandoms: The Avengers (Marvel Movies) & Crimson Peak
Pairing: Natasha/Loki & Natasha/Steve Rogers
My IRL friend Kat messaged me the other day about another writer she knows who does fanfiction. She loves both villains and silver hair, and she writes fics pairing Loki and Natasha (ship name BlackFrost). I’ve considered and taken notes on such a pairing, but time hasn’t permitted me to explore this avenue though I wish I could. I gave Kat my information to give to this other writer, and then I proceeded to follow and like her on all applicable social media (Fanfiction.net, AO3, and Deviant Art, the latter of which features her visual artistic talent, as well). I haven’t heard directly from her, and I considered sending her a note on DA, but I already feel like a creepy stalker, plus I’m super shy. When I read her work, I’ll leave a comment informing how I discovered her, and I suppose I’ll see what happens from there.
Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 12
Title: Santa Took Them
Author: William Malmborg
Date Added: March 8, 2017
The title of this immediately reminded me of Futurama with its murderous Santa, and to be honest, I have no idea if Santa is the culprit in this. Something horrible happened on Christmas Eve many years ago, tainting the holiday for everyone, but most assuredly for the teens who disappear one by one.
This is a book that was on my Amazon wish list, but I removed all of the books from that this week and added any that weren’t on Goodreads to my TBR list. Since Goodreads is a more than adequate repository for books, I don’t feel the need to have them on a wish list. People know I love to read, and I generally prefer to buy my own material in that regard. I’d rather keep that wish list for other things like video games, recording equipment, etc. Books are fairly cheap, though I will always accept Amazon gift cards 🙂
Title: The Art of George R. R. Martin’s a Song of Ice and Fire
Series Title: The Art of George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire
Author: Brian Wood
Date Added: March 8, 2017
I’ve had this book on my wish list for years. It’s far less expensive than the Final Fantasy art books I also crave, so I don’t know why I haven’t locked that up. I was immediately drawn to the cover image of Jaime lounging indolently on the Iron Throne, his sword dripping in Aerys’s blood. It reminds me of another picture I saw…also I had no idea that this was only the first book in the series. I generally don’t think of series when it comes to art books, since they only have the narrative of the book they’re illustrating, but I also can’t say I disapprove.
Title: Qabalah – The Complete Golden Dawn Initiate
Author: Steven Ashe
Date Added: March 8, 2017
One of the many books about the Qabalah I’ve added and coveted for years. This one isn’t that high on my priority list as I want to read Aleister Crowley’s 777 and Other Qabalistic Writings to compare and contrast it with Dion Fortune’s The Mystical Qabalah.
Title: The Maxx, Vol 1
Series Title: The Maxx
Authors: Sam Keith, William Messner-Loebs, Dave Feiss
Date Added: March 8, 2017
I was obsessed with the MTV Oddities show way back in the 90s. They used to show this and then afterwards Aeon Flux, which I also fangirled hard over. AF was one of the first cartoons I ever saw that one, wasn’t for children, and two, had a deeply symbolic narrative that forced me to critically think. There was an episode where a woman is caught trying to cross the border, and her punishment is to make these triangular devices in what seems like menial and pointless labor. At the end of the episode, she attempts to cross the border again, but this time wires come out, ensnaring her legs. Then she’s numbed and her legs are cut off with the very same devices she’d been making, an integral part of the process. It. Was. Fucked. Up. I could probably write in depth reviews about each of the episodes, because none of them were what I’d call casual watching.
Well…this part is supposed to be about The Maxx, but I’ve rambled on about Aeon Flux, but that and The Maxx were so influential for my critical thinking and development. These arguably prepared me for the convolutions and symbolism I’d find in Final Fantasy VII, and for that, I’ll be ever grateful.
Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Series Title: For Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Date Added: March 8, 2017
I added this while looking around for other stories with similar paradigms to The Dream Thieves since I’ve started adding those now. The title drew me. It reminds me of a line in Jewel’s song “Hands,” “For light does the darkness most fear.” (Macro planned for that). The novel is about a genetic experiment gone wrong (VII Sense tingling), and a society that’s reverted to an elite made of of Luddites who shun technology (a bit of FFX for good measure). The story is apparently inspired by a Jane Austen novel Persuasion, so I may have to check that out as well. I’ve read nothing of Austen in my three decades on this planet, and I feel that eventually I should.
Series Title: Skylark
Author: Meagan Spooner
Date Added: March 8, 2017
Sixteen-year-old Lark Ainsley has never seen the sky.
For two hundred years the city has sustained this barrier by harvesting its children’s innate magical energy when they reach adolescence. When it’s Lark’s turn to be harvested, she finds herself trapped in a nightmarish web of experiments and learns she is something out of legend itself: a Renewable, able to regenerate her own power after it’s been stripped.
Uh-huh. Even if I can’t stand the writing, this at least deserves a sample download and a chance.
Title: In the Garden of Iden
Series Title: The Company
Author: Kage Baker
Date Added: March 12, 2017
On the back of Prospero Lost is a list of authors recommending the novel, and quite a few of the books sounded too interesting to ignore. I figured it couldn’t hurt to at least check them out on Goodreads. I waver between not wanting to completely flood my TBR list, but not wanting to miss out on what could potentially be a new favorite, and since I’m now attempting to utilize my Kindle to its full potential in downloading samples, I have a check to weed out the books that don’t hold my interest so that my TBR number remains fairly stable.
This novel caught my attention by the title being a play on “Garden of Eden,” and the blurb didn’t diminish my interest. A (greedy) Company that recruits orphans from the past, renders them mostly immortal, and then trains them to serve the Company *sigh* Evil corporations are always going to be a thing in literature so long as they’re a thing in reality.
Title: A Brother’s Price
Author: Wen Spencer
Date Added: March 12, 2017
I’ve read a few books that flip the script on the patriarchy, making males the (more) objectified gender, and in this novel, since they’re rarely born, they’ve become a commodity, traded and sold like property. Of course there are other examples of the “rare male,” the one prominent one in my mind being Ganondorf, the male Gerudo and eventual main antagonist of the game. Side note: how do you pronounce “Gerudo?” I do it with a hard as opposed to a soft “g,” even though a “g” followed by an “e” is “supposed” to sound like a ‘j” in most cases. Not in “Gestalt” though, so may I’m saying it in the German way.
Hm…now I’m thinking about potential story or essays ideas. Exploring the differences between societies were males are rare as opposed to societies where females are rare. The first instance would be an obvious matriarchy, since females would outnumber males by quite a lot, and since matriarchies are generally more peaceful than patriarchies (sorry guys), I could see the scarcity working in the males’ favor. Obviously it doesn’t in the novel in question, which is another reason I’m interested in it. I also just thought about what if there was a story in this ken where the rare, male protagonist were gay?
The inverse would be absolute hell for the rare, female protagonist for obvious reasons, but it’s making me think of what could be a potential fanfiction where being female itself is not so rare, but being not only the last of your kind, but the last female of your kind is a reality. Someone like that would need a very powerful protector, don’t you think?
Title: Mad Kestrel
Author: Misty Massey
Date Added: March 12, 2017
There really just aren’t enough pirate, romance, mysteries out there, though I could definitely see Katherine McIntyre tackling that genre/subgenre brilliantly (if she hasn’t already. A quick text message will sort this query out though).
So the other day I receive a message on Goodreads from C and M about a free book. That’s one of my favorite genres 😉 In all actuality I’d have added this book to my TBR list anyway: the main character is an assassin, there’s a mysterious loss of magic, and enchanted doors that will open for nothing/no one. The inclusion of the latter is a sure way to get me interested in a novel. There’s something about locked portals that’s irresistible. Also, I know there’s a double entendre in the title.
And she got me with a review, too! Note, I’ve included a “Recommended by” line, which I’ll be using forthwith if it’s applicable. It’s another assassin story, and I think it passed through my sphere of knowledge before. I didn’t add it at the time, because it didn’t quite break the interest barrier, but C and M’s review was quite stellar, and I can at least download a sample to give it a try.
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Date Added: March 13, 2017
I’m trying to remember exactly how I found this. I know I was on Amazon adding all the game consoles I want to my wish list (spoiler: there’s a lot of them, and the total price is over a grand. It’s an expensive habit), but I don’t quite remember what I searched for that led me to this. It’s possible it was just an Amazon recommendation, because they want to you spend all your money. Either way, it’s hard to turn down a missing child trope subversion where the victim returns ten years covered in wounds and unable to speak. I can’t even imagine what might have happened to leave him in such a state, and I’m both horrified and intrigued to see what this story reveals.
Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 449
Change from Last Week: +6
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!