The State of the Reader: 7/19/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/12/17          The State of the Reader: 7/26/17–>

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. Bambi’s Children by Felix Salten: Kept – I enjoyed the first book, and this one appears to have the same charm.
  2. The Catalyst by Helen Coggan: Kept (RWTR) – I only read a few pages of this, because I’m trying not to read as much of my samples, just enough to know I’ll like it.  When I get to read them, I don’t like to reread what I already have to save time, but I often feel obligated to at least skim it to reacquaint myself.  I’d rather have less to skim.  Anyway, this starts off with a hole being ripped in the sky similar to the Futurama movie The Beast with a Billion Backs.
  3. Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland: Kept (RWTR) – PI summons 12th level demon who proceeds to apprehend the burglar who very unwisely broke into her house coincidentally at the same time she was doing said summons.  Also, there’s a promise of a really hot angel character.
  4. Relic by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child: Passed – It didn’t hold my interest.  I like mysteries, but there just didn’t seem to be much new infused into this one.  I think this is just a personal preference case.  The story and writing don’t seem bad, and I think it would be enjoyable to someone who likes museum or Indiana Jones-like mysteries.  Not saying I don’t, but they’re not my usual reading fare.
  5. A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn: Kept – Victorian mystery where the main character is a recently orphaned, practical young lady.  Sounds good to me.
  6. The Rains by Gregg Hurwitz: Kept (RWTR) – I barely read two pages before I knew this was a keeper for the RWTR shelf.  The characters are likable, and I already know the plot is going to be compelling.
  7. Lotus and Thorn by Sara Wilson Etienne: Kept – I almost put this on the RWTR shelf, but I decided against it.  It starts before the main character is exiled to the desert, and I’m guessing she’s about to commit the act that gets her thrown out.  There’s a character named Lotus whom I’m assuming will be important, though in the first chapter, she seems to almost be brushed over.
  8. Double Dead by Chuck Wendig: Kept (RWTR) – A vampire protagonist in a world full of zombies.  He’s been asleep for a while, and when he wakes up the world has gone to hell.  If you ever wondered if vampires can feed off of zombies, this book has your answer and much more.

Books Purchased This Week: 0

Books Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Beauty Thief
Series Title: Twelve Realms
Author: Rachael Ritchey
Date Added: February 5, 2016
Date Started: July 13, 2017
Date DNF: July 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 6 days

Percentage Read: 25%

I was really excited to read this one, so much that I threw it on my really-want-to-read shelf, and initially, it was really engaging.  I liked that the characters were royal, but they weren’t corrupt.  While they were a little bit too good to be true (no Game of Thrones grey in here), tyrannical rulers has become a bit cliched, so it’s almost a subversion to read about people who aren’t, and I liked that the princes and princesses were properly disciplined for misbehavior by being forced to do chores typically associated with “commoners.”  True rulers know that their task is to serve.  Caityn, the main character, also mentions she’s taught or read at the local school in addition to comforting orphans and widows.  It was sweet and really laid the foundation for what kind of realm this was.

Then Princess Eliya shows up.  Eliya is Theiandar’s (Caityn’s betrothed) sister, and you instantly know something is up with her.  I was okay with that, because everyone can’t be perfect, and her jealousy towards Caityn, which was grounded in the fear she was taking her only brother away, was understandable.

The reason I stopped reading was the novel has way too much exposition.  The author tells too much instead of showing.  The conflict of the story was washed out by the exposition/explanation on everyone’s state of mind.  Theiandar is wholly devoted to Caityn, which is plain to see in his behavior.  It takes away the mystery that every book should posses a little of to constantly comment on it though.  Let us doubt a bit.  Let us see it in his words and his actions.  Show the devotion more than you tell me he’s devoted.

I’ll be writing a DNF review of this at some point in the future.  It’s like the 12th one down now.

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
Series Title: Locke & Key
Authors: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Date Added: September 28, 2016
Date Started: July 3, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days

This was really good.  There was some confusion with the timeline, and not all of the characters really stuck out, but the story was solid, the villain was chilling, and the potential for more is extremely high.  I threw the next one onto my to-buy-next shelf, and I’m going to see how much it and the following ones are on Amazon.

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: May 26, 2017
Date Started: June 12, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 33 days

What a marvelous ending to a series I thought I’d have no interest in.  The second book of the trilogy was definitely the strongest, but the ending was a wonderful finish.  I was quite satisfied with how Maas wrapped it up, especially since I’m a huge fan of bookend endings (thanks FFVII!).  It was a little predictable, and the pacing of the novel was not great, but it got where it needed to go anyway.

Another one added to my still huge review pile…

Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1
Series Title: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic – Graphic Novels
Authors: Katie Cook & Andy Price
Date Added: May 26, 2017
Date Started: July 16, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 50%

I’m wondering if this is a wholly new story or a rehash of something that happened in the cartoon.  It’s about the return of Queen Crysalis, and I’m…not remembering her quite doing what she’s done here.  Either way this is enjoyable and very similar to the rebooted series.  If you like MLP, you’ll enjoy this.

Title: A Torch Against the Night
Series Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Date Added: June 7, 2017
Date Started: July 12, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 16%

It’s a bit slower than Ember, but still engaging.  It’s building up the foundation of immense conflict later, and I’m honestly not sure what path certain characters are going to choose.  Helene Aquilla, Elias’s (once) best friend *spoiler* and the current emperor’s Blood Shrike, which is essentially his highest ranked officer *end spoiler* has point of view chapters in this, and we get an idea of what her life was like and what she suffered *spoiler* after Elias escaped. *end spoiler*  Even though it’s slower, there’s so much potential it’s like you’re standing on a waking volcano feeling the rumble beneath your soles.

Title: The Archived
Series Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Date Added: July 12, 2016
Date Started: July 11, 2017

Media: Hardback/Library
Progress: 16%

The author has woven in a bittersweet yet beautiful undercurrent of grief in this narrative.  Of pain that can’t be spoken, or memories fading to lost.  And how far we will go and what powers we’ll use to hold onto those shredding strands.  Even though this story goes back and forth in time, Schwab has no problem keeping the reader in the moment, no matter where it might take place.

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Started: July 2, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 37%

*sigh* I was really enjoying this book.  An intelligent, insightful, but engaging even to psych novices (imo) in its witty language and relatable examples…and then he starts talking about beauty and what men find attractive as though this is a static concept that has never changed in humanity’s history.  While I do know that symmetry and clear skin are considered signs of health, I have to call foul on using Playboy as an example of what men want.  Beauty standards have changed quite drastically and are often not the cause of visual media, but rather predicated by it.  Much of what we want is far more socially conditioned than not, and this all happens without much conscious knowledge.  You’re in much less control of your preferences than you think, but of course, once you become conscious of why you might have that preference (especially if it’s bigoted), it’s possible to change it.  The implication that men have “circuits of pursuit” is pretty offensive to men and downright terrifying for women.  Even if you may not have conscious control of your preferences, you certainly have control of your actions.

I wish this were the worst of what I read…

Darker complexions of swarthier women can better disguise their imperfections.

What the actual fuck racist bullshit is this?  This was part and parcel of a spiel about how fairer skin is deemed more attractive, and I’m just like

Despite it all, I’m still reading, because I believe I can garner something of value from it in terms of consciousness and how the brain works.  I just know I have to take what he says with a grain of salt and pay attention so that I can attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: June 29, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 72%

This book continues to surprise me.  Like Torch above, I’m not sure how it’s going to end, and I’m no longer certain everyone is going to make it out alive.  The one major critique I have is that though the situation is dire and the narrative is beautifully written, I don’t feel all that much for some of the side characters even though they’re supposed to be more important.  The only Child of Peace I’m invested it in Greta who’s the MC.

Title: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Author: Anonymous
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: May 8, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 81%

Eventually, I’ll finish reading all the poems about Guthrun, Attila, and Sigmund.  I understand more of the story of them now, and I do like the cadence of the poetry.

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 8

Title: Waste of Space
Author: Gina Damico
Date Added: July 13, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook and By Book

I’ not usually a fan of reality TV shows unless the trope is subverted similar to The Truman Show, which it seems has been done here, as well.  A bunch of teenagers are crammed into what they think is outer space, but is really just a cramped studio for the amusement of the masses when something goes wrong. I’m hoping the author has enough tongue-in-cheek to mock those who believe we faked the moon landing.

Title: Ink and Bone
Series Title: The Great Library
Author: Rachel Caine
Date Added: July 13, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

A world were books are illegal is fiercely reminiscent of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 but instead of burning books, the Great Library hoards them and their knowledge from ordinary citizens.  If the Great Library of Alexandria had survived and was taken over by ruthless despots, this is how it might have turned out.

This book piques my interest, because it’s the polar opposite of a story idea I have where a futuristic world is ipso facto run by The Millennium Corporation, a gigantic Google like conglomerate whose sole purpose is to eradicate ignorance with knowledge.  I like reading narratives with plot lines opposite to the ones I’ve thought up, because even though they’re inverse, they still give me ideas of what I don’t want to do.

Title: Satanic Feminism: Lucifer as the Liberator of Women in Nineteenth Century Culture
Author: Per Faxneld
Date Added: July 14, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

So many people already think that feminists consort with the devil anyway, there might as well be a book about it lol.  This actually was recommended to me by someone insofar as my high school BFF posted it on Facebook as something Amazon recommended to her.  We used to have the best conversations about mythology, and she’s probably the first person to introduce me to the idea of Satan as a sympathetic character, which I thoroughly rejected back then, being as mired in rigid Christianity as I desperately tried pretending to be (sorry friends who thought I wasn’t a hopeless heathen.  I’m afraid I’ve let you down).  I suppose I have her to thank for greasing the wheels of analysis that allowed me to look between the lines of FFVII and become the Sephiroth fangirl I am today lol.  I use serpent symbolism in my first paranormal romance novel, which is pretty obvious seeing as its title is The Serpent’s Tale.

Title: Untitled
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: July 15, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

No picture to add on this one as the book doesn’t even have a title let alone a cover.  When I finished Wings and Ruin last night, there was a page promising more stories of Prythian in 2018.  Both I and Kat agree that the saga of Feyre and Rhysand was nicely wrapped up at the end of the third book and to continue that would only cause series fatigue.  But there were enough loose ends and questions that I could see her expanding upon that.  There are like at least three more following this fourth, so I’m curious to see what she’s going to do.

Title: Locke & Key, Vol 2.: Head Games
Series Title: Locke & Key
Authors: Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
Date Added: July 15, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I’m pretty sure I mentioned it above under the first book, but this is on my to-buy-next list.  I am very interested in what happens next now that some dangerous forces have been unleashed.  The mundane threats of the first book might have been vanquished, but when you’re dealing with Lovecraft, it’s never been about what you can kill.

Title: Behind Closed Doors
Author: B. A. Paris
Date Added: July 17, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I was watching the discussion of SOMA Christopher Odd did after his Let’s Play of the game, and this title came up as attributed to Sartre.  It obviously wasn’t written by him (though it is curious that the author’s last name is “Paris,” and Sartre is French), but this sounds like a harrowing psychological thriller about abuse under the veneer of a perfect marriage.

Title: No Exit
Author: Jean-Paul Sartre
Date Added: July 17, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

This is the book they were probably referring to in the mention of Behind Closed Doors.  It’s where Sartre’s famous and oft misunderstood quote “Hell is other people.”  It is supposed to be “a reference to Sartre’s ideas about the Look and the perpetual ontological struggle of being caused to see oneself as an object in the world of another consciousness” according to the play’s blurb.

Title: Goldie Vance Volume 1
Series Title: Goldie Vance
Author: Hope Larson & Brittney Williams
Date Added: July 19, 2017
Recommended By: The Writing Hufflepuff

Queer, Black, female detective?  Um, YES PLEASE.  Look how adorable and cute they all are.  Like seriously, LOOK AT THEM.  They’re all super adorable like precious cinnamon rolls, and I’m grinning just looking at it.  I might see if I can find this at the bookstore this week.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 475
Change from Last Week: +4

Books Added to Reread List This Week: 0

Total Books on Goodreads To Reread List: 68
Change from Last Week: 0

Fanfictions Finished This Week: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 3

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Fandom: Dragon Age/Dragon Age: Origins
Pairing: Leliana & Various
Author: AthenaTseta
Date Started: March 16, 2017

Progress: Chapter 25

These characters are so believable.  I’d say more, but I’m getting to this post later than I like and I’m tired 😦

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Fandom: Final Fantasy VI
Pairing: Celes Chere & Setzer Gabbiani
Author: runicmagitek
Date Started: June 19, 2016

Progress: Awaiting update

Title: The Broken Orrery
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: CymbelinesHalo
Date Started:  April 1, 2015

Progress: Awaiting update

Fanfictions Added to TBR List This Week: 2

Title: Something We All Need Hope
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: Lady-FFVII
Date Added: July 13, 2017

Title: If She Were Alive
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Pairing: Sephiroth & Aeris
Author: Lady-FFVII
Date Added: July 13, 2017

I received a message on my Sephiroth RP fanpage (for those of you who forgot I’m that much of a obsessed fangirl) from this lovely person asking if I wrote fanfiction for them (mwahaha, little did she know!), and through talking, we exchanged mutual fanfiction source information.  I still need to keep my promise of posting links on the page tonight (Current me: It’s done.  I took care of it the other day).  I’d said I’d update all my story links and probably throw in a few for the slideshows if I may be so bold. Since she writes Aeriseph fanfiction, too, I added her to my favorites and follow and made sure to note down the links to her stories (Yep, I did it, and while I was posting the links for my slideshow, I saw a recommendation for a video on the sidebar that asked “Who was in control: Sephiroth or Jenova?  Ughhhhh guys, I didn’t want to click on it, but I did.  I think the guy was arguing that Sephiroth was in control, but the comment section was filled with my type of people who presented reasons why that makes no fucking sense.  I was super happy and liked and commented on one of them.  It appears this is an endless debate in the fandom, which is not surprising.  Anyway, back to the post…oh wait, I have more exposition below…that I wrote the other day.  Wasn’t I bitching about that in the story I DNFed?  Ah well, this is more like breaking the fourth wall I suppose.  Sorry to crack your screens!)

Holy shit was that a lot of work…as you can see, I did some aesthetic updates to my fanfiction section.  I’m trying to make it look more like my original story section, not only here on the post, but behind the scenes in my notes.  There are currently three fanfictions I’m in the middle of reading, two of which are awaiting update.  I spent a good deal of time figuring out when I started them and finding an appropriate picture for the pairing.  Since Leliana is paired with a bunch of people in AtheneTseta’s novel, I figured I’d just show her by herself.

I also organized the “Added” section, because that was a mess in my notes.  I’m not going to bother to put in the ones I found before this week.  I’ll just make sure I’m more cognizant going forward.

There are also three fanfictions I want to review, but they’ll need to get in line with the rest, even though I should technically tackle them first since they’re from years ago.

The updates took about four hours to do.  I was so tired Saturday night, because that’s ALL I pretty much did, but it’s done now, and hopefully it looks nice.  I wanted to put all the fanfiction stuff together like all the Goodreads stuff is.  It just seems more organized.

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: 7/12/17          The State of the Reader: 7/26/17–>












26 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 7/19/17

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 7/12/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. Satanic Feminism? I think I found my second beach book! haha

    My library didn’t have Incognito, so I bit the bullet and purchased a used copy online, so now I can look forward to getting all annoyed while sunning myself. At least I know that when I return, my darker complexion will hide all my flaws from potential mates, so that’s nice (rolls eyes).

    And I had the biggest, doofiest grin on my face when I saw that Leliana picture. Glad you’re liking the story 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Man I love your posts! I have to wonder how you keep it all organized!

    I have to agree with you Incognito sounds like it would annoy me too. Then again, right now I am arguing with a FICTIONAL character who’s internal monologue is making me facepalm into all eternity.

    I’ve actually read Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris. It’s an interesting story. I actually found some illusions to a fairytale that no one else saw, and that the author didn’t intend. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Aw thanks! With this one, I HAVE to start it on the weekend and update it a little bit every day. It still took me like two hours *grumble* I use OneNote and Goodreads, oh and I’m ridiculously anal about my notes. I drive myself up the wall :p

      I was so disappointed that that even happened. I was loving that book. I’ve read some psych stuff in between now and college, but this really held my attention, and then *that* happened, and now I’m questioning every thing he says. But honestly, it’s always good to make sure your critique hat is on.

      She wrote something else that another blogger friend just reviewed, but I forget what the title is. I have such a backlog of books though. I’m currently downloading and reading as many samples as I can so I know what I can weed out right away. It’s almost time to download another batch of them, too lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Double Dead is a very fun read if you don’t take it too seriously. (This just reminded me that I need to read the next book.)
    Playboy as the guideline for the beauty of women? Bitch, please. Now I fully support a woman doing whatever she likes with her body, including plastic surgery so long as it’s what SHE wants, but I don’t think Playboy has been the guideline for beauty since the 60’s and 70’s. (Or I’m possibly in denial about that.) Playboy is strictly for seeing women as porn objects. Sure, men will think all possible dirty thoughts about them, have some weird fantasies, but I don’t think many men would actually settle down and marry a Playboy model. Or I might be giving men too much credit, but I really don’t think so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh it seems hilarious. I love the crass, tongue-in-check.

      I had the most “what the fuck” look on my face when I read that nonsense. Playboy is more of the guiding force for a beauty standard rather than a reflection of what real beauty is. Like the fact that what’s considered beautiful changes all the time speaks volumes. I agree wholeheartedly. Your body? Do what the hell you want with it

      Liked by 1 person

          • AHAHA! LOVE IT. There is a few of my husband’s friends that I think to myself, “Oh, you could NOT handle being married to me.” They seem to like women that like being told what to do, my husband knows I would wreck his world in public if he tried to pull the same shit on me. 😛

            Liked by 1 person

            • Quickest way to get me to do something is say, “You can’t do this.” Um, really? Watch me. And it’s not like there aren’t situations where I’m totally okay with him making the decisions, like seriously dude just pick a place to order. I don’t want to have to make that choice all the time. But then I’ve known women who won’t even argue with their male SO’s or disagree with them, and I refuse to be a doormat. I’m introverted and socially anxious, but hella opinionated lol.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Yeah, I’m going to stay far away from Incognito. My rage started boiling when I read your thoughts on it, haha. Satanic Feminism looks like something I need to check out.

    Your updated fanfiction section looks amazing! Great job 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so irritating, because prior to that the book was really good. It’s still okay, and it’s still interesting, but yeah, definitely damper. Don’t worry, my wrath will be felt in the review, and I’m definitely going to see what other reviewers say. I’m certain I’m not the only one who was irked by that.

      It was bugging me how untidy it was D: I had to fix/update it so it was more similar to the Goodreads backlog.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 7/26/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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