The State of the Reader: 4/12/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/5/17          The State of the Reader: 4/19/17–>

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.

Samples Read This Week: 12

  1. Order of Seven by Beth Teliho: Kept – I was kind of hoping the twin main characters would be similar in skin tone to the African tribe they’d been found with, but I can’t deny I’m curious about the mystery behind that.  I’d initially had this book on my really-want-to-read list, but finishing the sample bumped it down a bit.  Not that I’m not still interesting, but there are other books that seem more intriguing (I know…you’d think a book about the order of “seven” would be number one on the pile, but it doesn’t always work like that).
  2. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: Kept (RWTR) – This is another book with a focus on the African continent, and I’m more interesting in it than the one above.  The main/titular character is the first of the Himba people to ever be offered a place at the most prestigious galactic university, and she leaves home secretly against the wishes of her family.  The sample did an excellent job of showing how Binti was a stranger in a strange land even on the transport to space.  I felt for her for so many reasons.
  3. The Dragon Tempest: Tales of Fantasy and Adventure by Dragon Knight Chronicles: Passed – It didn’t grab me, and there were too many cliched tropes without any subversions to shake them up.  The language was also really simplistic, which can be brilliant in the hands of a seasoned writer, but seems juvenile to the unadept.
  4. A Father’s Protection by by K. J. Hawkins: Kept (Purchased) – I really, really hate when the sample isn’t long enough to get past any forewords, acknowledgments et al.  There were only three pages in this sample, which mean I didn’t even get to read a word of the story.  Then I realized it was only $0.99, so I bought it.  Even if I hate it, it’s only $0.99.  Not that I think it’s going to be the greatest story I’ve ever read, but I’d hate to miss something I might enjoy.
  5. Clairvoyance Chronicles – Volume One: Natacha Guyot: Passed – Same issue as two above.  The writing is very simplistic without the promise of something much deeper lying beneath.  It seems almost like it’s mid-grade or YA, but since I just reviewed one of those (The Quantum Door) where the writing style was geared towards that age group, but still accessible to the older crowd, I’m a bit less inclined to just accept that as a reason.  It’s also possible that English is not the writer’s first language, which a quick click on her name proved true.  She’s French, and I’m wondering if the book was originally written in that language then translated into English, which is why it loses its finesse.
  6. Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty: Kept (RWTR) – I knew this was going to fall on the kept/really-want-to-read list, but I still wanted to test the sample out anyway.  It seems just as good as the first book, which I reviewed here.
  7. Sorrow’s Heart by G. S. Scott: Kept (RWTR) – I just marked this as a really-want-to-read.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how fucked up it is.  Children kept naked in cages by a cruel master who does experiments on them so heinous, many end up dead.  The first sample chapter ends with the main character’s brother one of the bodies on the pile.  I have to find out what happens.
  8. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison: Kept (RWTR) – The language in this is lush and poetic like all of Ms, Morrison’s work.  It pulls you in with magical magnetism and sumptuous metaphor just begging to be unraveled.
  9. Through the Portal by Riley J. Dennis: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – Riley is one of my favorite YouTubers, and when I found out she’d written a book, I immediately added it to my Goodreads list.  I was even happier to find out it was fantasy, which is my favorite genre.  Within just the first few pages, Ms. Dennis makes you feel sympathy for the characters, and you want to know more about their lives which seem to only contain each other for comfort.
  10. The Grimm Chronicles by Isabella Fontaine: Passed – I didn’t like the voice.  The author used too many emphases aka italics, which is making me wary of how often I use them, and colloquialisms.
  11. A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro: Kept (RWTR) – In contrast to the book above, I absolutely loved the voice in this.  It spreads out before you with so much mystery between the words.  The author reveals not only plot coupons but promised revelations to come.
  12. Elijah Dart: Angel of Death by Jonathan L. Ferrara: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – JLF’s charming writing style again does not disappoint with this story.  Elijah is immediately endearing (and immediately in peril).  There’s even a reference to Rupert Davies (the main character from The Ghost of Buxton Manor)!
  • Kept – 9
    • RTWR – 7
  • Passed – 3

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Purchased: April 7, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $11.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: A Father’s Protection
Author: K. J. Hawkins
Date Added: October 21, 2015
Date Purchased: April 8, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Retailer: Amazon
Price: $0.99

Title: Through the Portal
Series Title: Through the Portal
Author: Riley J. Dennis
Date Added: November 29, 2015
Date Purchased: April 9, 2017

Media: ebook/Kindle
Retailer: Amazon
Price: $2.99

Title: Elijah Dart: Angel of Death
Author: Jonathan L. Ferrara
Date Added: November 2, 2015
Date Purchased: April 12, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Retailer: Amazon
Price: $2.99

Total: $18.96

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017
Date Finished: April 7, 2017
Reading Duration: 34 days

The third book in the series was just as good as the first and the second.  I’ll be working on a review sometime this week.  If I keep up this finishing one book a week, soon I’ll surpass my 15 book goal, which is perfectly fine with me.

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
Date Finished: April 9, 2017
Reading Duration: 97 days

This was almost like reading an advanced science textbook, and I’m more than happy I don’t have to take a test on it.  Oh, I’m sure I could regurgitate facts and figures, but if it was an essay exam on understanding the concepts, I’d be quite screwed.  I think I understood maybe 60% of it on a good day, and 30% on a bad one.  That averages out to 45% (right?), which I don’t think is awful for someone who hasn’t studied quantum physics or string theory et al.

I’ll be writing a (brief) review of the first half of this.  As stated before, I’m taking a break before reading the second part, Universe/Nutshell.  My brain needs a rest from such esoteric science.

Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Others, and Translators
Date Added: October 30, 2016
Date Started: April 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress:  15%

I finally started the fabled Hyrule Historia that I bought a few months ago.  It’s more of an art book (at least the first part) than I realized, opening with Skyward Sword concepts and descriptions.  I discovered that loftwings were based on the real life birds known as shoebills, which makes perfect sense.

There’s even a macro/meme for it!

The pictures are beautiful, and I can’t wait until I get to the History of Hyrule part.

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Started: April 8, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 10%

So a little bird told me that there’s apparently going to be a TV series for this!  I’m cautiously excited, because there’s always a chance they’re going to fuck it up.  I definitely have concrete mental images of what the characters look like and their distinct personalities.  If they get it right, it will be magical; if they get it wrong, it could turn into a whiny, teenage soap opera, and I will be most displeased.

This is the final installment, when all will (hopefully) be laid bare.  The stakes have really never been higher, coming off of a highly spoilerific tragedy in the previous book.  The one thought that keeps circling through my head as I’m reading this is “Gansey is the king, and the king must die…”

Title: The Descendents
Series Title: The Arete Series
Author: Rae Else
Date Added: March 5, 2017
Date Started: April 1, 20147
Recommended by: Rae Else

Media: Kindle
Progress: 44%

The story got serious really quickly. Initially, I was as torn as El about what the Order’s motivations were, but now I’m definitely leaning in a particular direction, unless Ms. Else is doing a phenomenal deflection, which I wouldn’t put past her.  The thing that irks me is El knows nothing (like less than Jon Snow), yet she’s being treated as if she was privy to all of the rules, and this goes for both sides: the Order and the resistance.  It was really hard to stop after my one chapter today, but I can look forward to reading the next at lunch tomorrow.

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 45%

It honestly feels like the author rooted through my mind, riddled through my thoughts, and drew some of the more convoluted ones forth.  I don’t have the “benefit” of recreational drug use to excuse mine, just my mixed up brain chemicals.  I both have so much to say about this novel, and yet nothing, because it’s not something you can really explain; you have to experience it for yourself.  I’m glad I follow Ms. Jacob on WordPress (under Inkbiotic), because I want to be privy to whatever else she’s going to put out there as soon as it’s made known.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 84%

I really wonder if Ms. Walton put the final branch where it is because she knew that people would probably not read the book if it were at the beginning.  It’s been a struggle for me to get through a chapter a session, and I find myself groaning when I’m stuck on a long one.  The current has been read in parts (chapters still have chapter breaks), and while it’s not wholly uninteresting, I don’t have a good connection to the characters, so I’m not as hyped to read about them.  Ah well, I’ll be finished eventually.  This is the book I’ve been reading the longest, since July 2016.

Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 2

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

No update again.

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Author: AtheneTseta
Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Leilana/Various

Ugh, I think I read one chapter last week, and I’m really annoyed about that.  This story is far more enjoyable than the part of The Mabinogion Tetralogy I’m stuck on, but with fanfictions, I typically read them after I’ve done a lot of the tasks on my day planner, whereas physical books are generally read as soon as I get home, and ones on my Kindle are done at lunch.  So a lot of times I’m too tired to read when I get to that point.  I’m trying to work out a better method, but I do always try to leave a comment on every chapter I read, since I know how wonderful it is to receive them myself.  I will say that reading this has proven to me it’s very possible to read/enjoy a story for a game (or any other media) you didn’t play (watch/read) yourself, as long as the writer has talent.

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 7

Title: Defy the Stars
Series Title: Defy the Stars
Author: Claudia Gray
Date Added: April 6, 2017
Recommended by: Kim (By Hook or By Book)

This is an interesting concept for a paranormal romance pairing a teenage (child) soldier with a sworn enemy in an interstellar war, but that enemy is of humanity’s own making.  The blurb describes him as “a machine,” which leads me to the assumption that he’s an android, and I love the fact his name is Abel, the slayer of his brother.

Title: Planetfall
Series Title: Planetfall
Author: Emma Newman
Date Added: April 6, 2017
Recommended by: Bookish Muggle

It took me a long time to add this.  Probably because it’s seems purely sci-fi, and my progression into that has been slow.  This takes place in a future where humans are forced to flee the earth, a future that doesn’t seem too farfetched now for a number of reasons both fair and foul.  It would be nice to leave with the knowledge we have a home to come back to, but since we continue to spoil it, that seems less and less likely.

Title: Priestess: The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune
Author: Alan Richardson
Date Added: April 8, 2017

One of my most intelligent, well-read, and well-versed friends added this per my Goodreads newsfeed.  She was my BFF in high school, and though we’ve diverged from that path, we still remain friends on Facebook, and I highly respect her opinion on the esoteric, the religious/spiritual, and many other mysteries.  She knew about Dion Fortune long before I’d ever heard that name or of the Holy Sephiroth (I knew her when I was still obsessed with Final Fantasy VI).  While reading The Mystical Qabalah I certainly had some insights into the mind of Violet Firth, but the chance to find out more about the woman who became Dion Fortune is too much of a temptation to pass up.

Title: The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: April 9, 2017 (June 25, 2016)

Just keeping my promise about Professor Hawking’s work as mentioned above.

Title: Dealing With Dragons
Series Title: Enchanted Forest Chronicles
Author: Patricia C. Wrede
Date Added: April 9, 2017
Recommended by: Hungry Goriya

I knew this author sounded familiar!  I have her Snow White and Rose Red on my read list.  I was lucky enough to catch HG’s Twitch stream the other night (the second night in a row), and while the first evening’s discussion was all about the best (and worst for you) food, last night the talk turned to books.  I think that might have been my fault in mentioning Daenerys for some reason.  Were we talking about dragons?  That would make sense owing to the book added.  Oh!  I remember.  A random blue dragon showed up, I did mention Dany because of that, and there we were.

I love when tropes are subverted, and this book does a great job of turning the princess captured by a dragon paradigm on its head.  The princess wants to be captured, since it keeps her from having to marry a prince against her will.  It sounds like a great plan to me.

Huh, now that I’m thinking about it, it kind of reminds me of Final Fantasy IX where Garnet wants to be kidnapped in order to escape Alexandria and her mother’s erratic behavior in order to seek help from her Uncle Cid, the Regent of Lindblum.  I love FFIX, and just Final Fantasy in general is all about turning tropes on their head.

Title: Eating Robots
Author: Stephen Oram
Date Added: April 10, 2017
Recommended by: Orchid’s Lantern

One of the issues I’ve found with short story collections is you never know how many stories within are going to be worth your time.  It’s especially difficult when you download samples, because the entire volume is judged on the initial tale, so the organizer/editor better start out strong.  I’ve relegated quite a few short story collections to the “passed-based-on-sample” bin, which doesn’t seem quite fair.  I could and should see if they’re available at my local library to give a better judgment, but for now I stand by my decision.

According to the writer of Orchid’s Lantern, this compendium doesn’t suffer from that at all.  Some of the stories are one page or less, and they both eclectic and riveting.  Based on that glowing summation, I figured it was worth an add.  It also serves to expand my sci-fi horizons more, and I can’t complain about that.

Title: Blood Rose
Series Title: Blood
Author: Danielle Rose
Date Added: April 12, 2017

It’s dangerous to rummage around Amazon even if you’re just there to download more samples.  They like to give you recommendations, because Amazon wants all your money.  I almost didn’t add this, but I’m a sucker for a enemies to lovers story (I know, right, really?!), and it was the final part of the blurb about just that that was the hook.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 449
Change from Last Week: +2

Books Added to Reread List This Week: 1

Title: Wolf of Shadows
Author: Whitley Strieber
Date Added: April 10, 2017

I was on an “checking/adding sci-fi” kick, because I wanted to throw some Asimov and Bradbury onto my list.  Turns out I had Asimov already, and I’d forgotten I’d read the latter’s Fahrenheit 451 back in high school concurrently with the above book.  I remember this one guy in my class loved Fahrenheit and totally hated on Wolf of Shadows, which was the one I greatly preferred.  As an adult, I can better appreciate the message Mr. Bradbury was trying to get across (especially now.  Lord…), but I was really into animal-based fiction back in high school and loved the idea of humans who made friends with wolves, though it be for a dire cause.  The apocalyptic background actually disturbed me quite a bit (this was pre-FFVII), but that drifted to the background for my favored paradigm.  I’m curious if I’ll feel the same about the book 20+ years later.

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: 4/5/17          The State of the Reader: 4/19/17–>













20 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 4/12/17

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 4/5/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. Since I’m so on the fence about the Raven cycle. maybe I’ll be absurd and watch the show first. 😛 (Though who knows how long that production could take.)
    This past year I started venturing into sci-fi much more and it’s really hit or miss. But if I like it, I tend to love it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There have been a bunch of things I read because I watched the show or movie first! No shame in it.

      I kind of have always been into it, but I think I never admitted it. I was a TNG girl growing up, and now like more sci-fi shows. I kind of like science fantasy, but a lot of GRRM’s old work is purely sci-fi, and I really liked it. What I think is I like good writing lol, but I tend to prefer certain genres.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looking forward to your brief review of A Brief History of Time (yuk yuk yuk). And oh my goodness you are tempting me with so many interesting-looking books!! (as always)

    Hopefully by the end of the month I’ll have read something entertaining that I can comment on haha

    Liked by 2 people

  4. It’s always interesting how exciting/terrifying it is when books we love get turned into a film or a television series. 🙂 I’ve never read The Raven Cycle but I can relate to that feeling of apprehension and simultaneous hope that the movie/series does the source material justice. Hopefully it works out well. 🙂
    I think film remakes are a lot like that too. Or sequels even. I’m excited for the remake they’re doing for Stephen King’s It but at the same time I’m also not sure how confident in it I am. I’m definitely going to check it out though when it comes out. My boyfriend says I’m on my own on that one though since he hates clowns. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • I listened to one of my YouTube subs talk about It so I know what It really is and holy crap is it more terrifying than even clowns D: I’m not upset for being spoiled either. He read a bit of the book on his channel, and this guy has the PERFECT voice for reading horror. I’m hoping that do It justice, and I have my fingers crossed for The Raven Cycle. I was talking to Cupcakes and Machetes about it and admitted that it’s the best series I’ve read since A Song of Ice and Fire. It’s THAT good.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. The title “The Dragon Tempest: Tales of Fantasy and Adventure by Dragon Knight Chronicles” makes it seem like one big cliche to me, lol.

    I still need to pick up Hyrule Historia at some point! I have the book that launched for BoTW though: LoZ Art and Artifacts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh my god it really does…and the thing is since it’s a short story collection, it’s very possible that the other stories in it might be okay, but the first one was such a turn off that I don’t think I’ll ever find out.

      Oh now I want to read that one!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 4/19/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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