The State of the Reader: 5/31/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/24/17          The State of the Reader: 6/7/17–>

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

  1. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmburg: Kept/Purchased – Interesting enough to warrant a read.  The main character wants to work with steel, but her teacher informs her they don’t have enough paper magicians, so that’s where she’s going to apprentice.  It’s making me think of this anime that I’ve never seen, but I know is about a character who can manipulate   paper.  Read or Die, I think that’s the name of it?  Since the book was cheap on Kindle, I also purchased it.  I can never tell whether or not the price is static or on sale.
  2. Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw: Passed – This is going to sound awful, and lord knows I understand how frustrating market saturation is, but I just don’t feel like reading a story where the main character is a young man with a fated destiny.  If the writing had pulled me in, I’d probably consider it, but it wasn’t really my style.
  3. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones: Kept – I liked the language/writing style, so me keeping this seems counter to what I said above, because this one seems like a “young man with a fated destiny” story, too, but the focus seems to be more on his more talented, witchy sister.
  4. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: Kept – I’ve been only reading a page of two of my samples (unless they’re like Radiance and I can’t put it down) before I make my decision if I’m going to keep it, and this one about a talented young singer trying to live in the cold of her opera diva mother’s shadow seems worthy of my time.
  5. The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway: Kept – Again I only read a few pages of this, but I’ve read the author before under her other name Jan Siegel.  She wrote Prospero’s Children with that moniker, and I loved that series, so I’m sure I’ll find this novel more than adequate. Interesting…so I went to add the link for this, and I have the book on my TBR list twice: once under Jan Siegel and once under Amanda Hemingway.  Let me check Amazon to see what name she’s using…it’s under Hemingway so that’s what I’m going to keep.
  6. The Book of Earth by Marjorie B, Kellogg: Kept – The sleeping dragons keeping the balance instantly reminded me of Mother 3, though in that there was just one, but seven pins (or swords?) that you had to draw in order to awaken it.  I like the unconventional young noble lady, too, even though that’s a tried trope as well.
  7. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Kept (RWTR) – This book is everything I could ask for.  Fairy enchantment in a world where iPods exist.  I love the blending of either genres or when genres take place in non-traditional time periods (most people think of sword and sorcery or high fantasy that generally occurs in some medieval era), and the fact that there’s a mother so bad ass she not only figured out her baby was a changeling, but refused to give the fae child back when the fairy woman returned her own.
  8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow: Kept by Jessica Day George: Kept (RWTR) – I’d already had this on my really-want-to-read list.  I love stories about the dark, cold north (I mean my favorite story’s beginning and conclusion occurs in the north, and depending on how ASOIAF concludes, I may be double talking), and I love fairy tales.  This story does both.
  9. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst: Kept (RWTR) – I was surprised, but not upset to find this book takes place in more modern times where research teams are sent to the Arctic and snow mobiles exist.  Stories like this usually have the quality of disbelief for its characters in seeing magic happen before their eyes, so they share something with those who are reading the tale.  If this book and the prior had been less expensive, I would’ve bought them immediately.
  10. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau: Kept (RWTR) – This was one of those samples that only had a few pages, but I am beyond curious to know what’s going on with it.  It starts off with a prologue, which is always a risky move in any story, but it explains how 200 years ago, the builders of the eponymous city left instructions for the people, and they were supposed to be passed down through successive generations, held by the cities mayors, but one of the mayors was corrupted, took home the box the instructions were housed in, and tried to break it open with a hammer.  The sample stopped there, but I want to know why these builders said the people would have to say hidden for at least 200 years.  What the hell happened to the surface above?
  11. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon: Kept – Even though I’m worried this book might be a touch on the religious side (as in favoring one over the other), I’m still interested in what the daughter does with her mother’s gift.
  12. Adventure Begins by Colin Dann: Kept – So I actually downloaded a different book from the one I had on my TBR list.  I had The Animals of Farthing Wood there or something like that, but I think this one is the first in the series?  I’m not really sure, but since this is what I downloaded, and since it seems to be the first in a series, this is the one I’m going to keep.  Going by my rules of one author per book on my TBR list, I removed Animals for this.  The premise is interesting and definitely something I would’ve read in my younger days.  There’s a feud between the foxes and the otters, because the otters have encroached on the foxes’ hunting territory due to a shortage of fish in the stream.  This issue is further compounded by the fact that otters are rare in this part of England (?), so wherever they live has been declared a sanctuary by humans who won’t chop down and develop the wood due to their presence.  The otters know this and take advantage of it, so I’m curious how the foxes are going to resolve this dilemma.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Paper Magician
Series Title: The Paper Magician Trilogy
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Date Added: June 17, 2016
Date Purchased: May 25, 2017

Paper Magician, The

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.50
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Gamer: 5/30/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 5/23/17          The State of the Gamer: 6/6/17–>

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.
I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Currently Playing: 2

Title: Final Fantasy: Brave Exvius
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: June 29, 2016
Date Purchased: March 21, 2017
Date Started: March 27, 2017

I not going to call it quits on this game, but I have cut back how often I play it.  I was religiously booting it up at least once a day to collect my daily reward and do a few things, but now I’m kind of meh on that.  From what I understand about freemium games, they just keep going until you grow tired of them.  I really like FFBE’s story, but I don’t think there’s ever any conclusion (feel free to set me straight if this is an erroneous observation).  So, I’m not giving up on it, but I’m going to put it on the back burner so that I can concentrate on other games.

Title: The Room Three
Genre: Puzzle, Mystery
Developer: Fireproof Games
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: 2015
Date Purchased: May 28, 2017
Date Started: May 28, 2017

I finished The Room Two in less than a week and immediately downloaded the third installment for $3.99.  This one has even more of a streamlined feel to it with your character going from room to room in addition to have more of a room to look around.  I like when creators improve with each iteration, and I’m more than willing to fork over my money in order to play a stellar puzzle game.  The cut scenes and graphics are also very impressive.

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The State of the Writer: 5/28/17

<–The State of the Writer: 5/21/17          The State of the Writer: 6/4/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 267,039
Prior Word Count: 268,194
Word Difference: -1155
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 10

What should be purely editing and figuring out where additional text fits has of course turned into something else.  I want to expand on a latter occurence, create a catalyst, if you will.  I still haven’t figured out where or if I can break this chapter up.  There’s not really any viable part for it, but I may not have to since I am cutting things out.  The main issue comes later when Aeris has yet another nightmare, and I use the * chapter break indicator, but it’s not really so much a chapter break as an introduction to a dream sequence.  Also, the catalyst I’m adding has to do with her terror.

I’ll tell you a secret.  When I get into idea mode where I cant stop taking things down, often the same thing just said in a different way, I write it all.  Even the most outlandish and inappropriate ideas I put in my notes.  Because while I’m not going to utilize the more risque, I can still takes pieces of it or remove the more over the top sections for use.  If you ever find yourself in this mode where ideas just flood, write it all down.  It doesn’t matter if it’s weird, gross, unconventional, or off the wall, you never know where you might be able to use it even if it has to be modified first.  No one should see your notes unless you want them to.  This is why we edit.

Quote: The wheels are in motion.  The task has been set.  Judgment is calling their names.” 


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Planning

I’ve been finishing books like a fiend, which means I have quite a backlog of reviews to complete.  These are the four I have left in order from top left to bottom right (I do reviews in the order I finish the books), and I can’t wait to review Radiance and its sequel Eidolon more than any of them.  A Father’s Protection will be easy since it’s so short, but I’ll have to think about what to say about The Raven Boys.


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 5/21/17          The State of the Writer: 6/4/17–>

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Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples (Saga #1)

Saga

Saga: Volume 2–>

Title: Saga: Volume 1
Series Title: Saga
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Fiona Staples
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: May 15, 2017
Date Finished: May 23, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Graphic Novel/Comic, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, Space Opera
Recommended by: Cupcakes and Machetes

Pages: 160
Publication Date: October 10, 2012
Publisher: Image Comics
Media: Paperback

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.


I never read comic books growing up.  Not that I had anything against them.  I make no judgments about the media you consume.  All narratives are worthy of discourse regardless how they’re presented.  Comics and graphic novels just never passed into my zone of consumption until a college postmodern class where I was more than happy to read Watchmen Though even without that experience, I can’t say they weren’t part of my sphere of influence, though I might not have known at the time.

I was obsessed with MTV’s The Maxx and Aeon Flux, the former, which began as a comic/graphic novel and the latter, which has one in the form of The Herodotus Files (currently on my TBR list), and this fails to even mention the plethora of movies that are based on comic books e.g. anything involving superheros like Superman, Batman, the Avengers (Loki!), etc. nor are comics limited to just that as my favorite movie for years Constantine is based off the comic HellblazerThere are more that I can’t speak on due to ignorance, but suffice it to say that comics and graphic novels are no mean genre deserving of ridicule, nor would someone like me who constantly defends video games from the same vitriol ever make such an ill-informed claim.

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Final Fantasy Friday: A Grand Introduction

A Final Fantasy (et al) post to welcome you to the glory of Friday (if you don’t have weekends off then may this hopefully brighten the midst of your work week) with more located here!

Last week I substituted a review for my typical post, which I’ll probably opt to do every now and then when I have a review prepared.  Now we’re back with a typical question and discussion, and this one was garnered from the extensive discussion on my Un-Final Fantasy post.  I’m sorry I don’t remember who mentioned it, but if you’re reading this, let me know in the comments so I can give credit where it’s due!


Which Final Fantasy would you recommend to a series newcomer?

I’d want them to start with either Final Fantasy IV or Final Fantasy VI like I did with the latter.  Now that I’ve played IV, which I like a little bit better, I’d want them to start with that one since it’s earlier and the first Final Fantasy with a cohesive story, deep plot, and well developed characters.  Final Fantasy VI has a simpler, more straightforward story line, but it’s a huge fan favorite and manages to have enough plot for all 14 possible characters.  This might also be a good reason to start a newbie there.  Some people argue that VI exemplifies the series, but I’d have to disagree a little bit since VI has a simpler plot than the rest with a more blatant and straightforwardly evil villain whereas other games go into more depth with motivation and background.  VI did set an example for the JRPG world, and there would be numerous attempts to duplicate the magic it created.

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The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh (The Quantum Worlds #2)

The Quantum Worlds

<–The Quantum Door (TQW #1)

Title: The Quantum Ghost
Series Title: Quantum World
Author: Jonathan Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: April 14, 2017
Date Started: April 29, 2017
Date Finished: May 20, 2017
Reading Duration: 21 days
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Mid-grade, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic/Dystopian, Speculative Fiction

Pages: 206
Publication Date: April 29, 2017
Publisher: Self-Published
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: The Matrix, Final Fantasy VII, Chrono Trigger

On a cold autumn night, twelve-year-old Remi Cobb makes a startling discovery—a mysterious object floating on the pond in her backyard. With no idea where it came from, or how it got there, Remi is compelled to unravel its secrets. Her quest for answers takes her on a perilous journey across realities, where she finds a crumbling world—and the dark forces behind its ruin. Here she learns the truth about her connection with the strange object, and of those that will stop at nothing to destroy them both.

But even if she can find a way to survive, can she find a way home?


Mr. Ballagh not only does it again with this second foray into his Quantum Worlds, but he manages to do it better.  Any of the minor issues I had with The Quantum Door were utterly absent from novel.  The author doesn’t waste any time with the narrative.  He jumps right into the action of the book, and it’s instantly engaging.

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Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017
Date Finished: May 14, 2017
Reading Duration: 56 days
Genre: Young Adult (YA), Magical Realism, LGBT

Pages: 248
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Publisher: Dr. Cicero Books
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Slow Regard of Silent Things

A tale of love, drugs, cynicism and magic set in the late nineties. It is told from the perspective of two seventeen-year-old girls, Jitty and Hazel; in the style of magic realism, where the grime of real life can be morphed by the characters’ imaginations.

Jitty is a recluse who has created a world of magic to keep herself company. She secretly interferes in the life of the townspeople, including Hazel’s friend, Vurt. Hazel is a wild cynic on a course of self-destruction.

One stormy night their paths cross as the lightning flashes. Their brief relationship is intense, swinging from beautiful to ugly, as Hazel’s cynicism and Jitty’s innocence prove a terrible match.

From then on, Jitty, Hazel and Vurt each pursue their own route to madness; as drugs, magic and a dance with the Devil take control. This ends on one final night, after which their lives are changed forever.


Every now and again I find a story that contains a sliver of the mess that is me, what I couldn’t explain if I had all the words of a thousand tongues.  I cling to those narratives like a desperate climber to the skin of a stony peak recalling the piece that fit against my more jagged edges.  But then sometimes a story comes along that lays bare the thoughts in my inner sanctum, forces me to face them, and wonder how much of a facade I’ve been keeping up for all these years.  Thoughts yet coalesced made visible and presented in a world that could either be magical realism or drug induced haze.

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