The State of the Reader: 8/16/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/9/17          The State of the Reader: 8/23/17–>

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 Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser-Hallard: Kept – Arthurian Knights in the modern day with modern technology doing what they do best.  Certain types of urban fantasy are growing on me.  I like the speculation of how classic fantasy characters and tropes would look with modern technology.  It was also inexpensive, so I now have it on Kindle.
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Kept – I hoping this psychological thriller is more satisfying than the last one I read.
  3. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold: Passed – It just didn’t grab me.
  4. One by Sarah Crossan: Kept (RWTR) – I had no idea this was written in free verse lending it a lovely poetic air.  I was already interesting in it for it’s subject matter (conjoined twin sisters), though I have a feeling I’m going to be a bawling mess by the end.
  5. Dweller by Jeff Strand: Kept (RWTR) – Gripping from the very first sentence, and the monster (or monsters) from the blurb are clearly sentient.  At only $2.99 I had to buy it.
  6. Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory: Kept – This has been a week of cheap samples.  I keep reading samples for books that are really inexpensive on Amazon.  This is a zombie story with a twist (of course, since zombie stories are old news now).  The Mayhall family finds the body of a pregnant teenager with a seemingly dead baby, but though the child has no pulse, he appears to be “alive.”  They hide the child from the authorities who will kill him (sounds similar to The Last of Us), keeping his existence a secret until circumstances force the boy, whom they name Stony, to run.  This is the second Daryl Gregory book I’ll have read, the first being The Devil’s Alphabet, which had a great deal of potential, but was ultimately disappointing.  I hope Raising Stony Mayhall doesn’t fall into the same trap.
  7. The Children of Húrin by Christopher Tolkien: Kept – This was one of those books that had too much introduction, so I didn’t actually get to read any of it, but it’s the work of J. R. R. Tolkien edited by his son, so I have high hopes.  I was also able to borrow it on Amazon Prime.  Apparently, you can do that with some books with the limit being ten at a time.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: The Pendragon Protocol
Series Title: The Devices Trilogy
Author: Philip Purser-Hallard
Date Added: January 15, 2017
Date Purchased: August 10, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.95
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Gathering
Series Title: Darkness Rising
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Date Purchased: August 13, 2017

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

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Purchased: August 14, 2017

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

Title: Raising Stony Mayhall
Author: Daryl Gregory
Date Added: February 18, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Children of Húrin
Series Title: Middle-Earth Universe
Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
Date Added: February 22, 2017
Date Purchased: August 16, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.00
Retailer: Amazon Prime

Total Price: $8.92
Average Price: $1.78


Books Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: Tales from the Arabian Nights
Author: Anonymous
Translator: Richard Francis Burton
Date Added: May 10, 2017
Date Started: July 24, 2017
Date DNF: August 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 19 days

Media: Hardback
Percentage Read: 9%

I couldn’t do it with the racism anymore.  Part of it could be the translation, but regardless I’m finished.  I’m not going to review or rate it.  I’m just done.  I’m a bit upset about it, too, because I love folklore, but it’s too much.  I’d post the line that did me in (because there was a specific one), but I don’t even want to write it ;_;

Actually, fuck it.  I’m going to write a brief review on Goodreads, because there are a LOT of fucking racism apologists.  I get that this was written in a different time and whatnot, but maybe don’t tell people to “get off their high horse” if they happen to be affected by anti-Black racism, because, oh, I don’t know, they happen to be Black 😡

This is what I wrote:

I couldn’t finish this due to the blatant and rampant racism, which is disappointing, because I love folklore. I’m aware it was written over a thousand years ago, and it was a different time, but there are a LOT of racism apologists in the reviews, which is the only reason I decided to write this particular assessment, which is atypical of the norm, because fuck racism apologists. Don’t tell people to “get off their high horse” if they happen to be bothered/affected by anti-Blackness, because, oh, I don’t know, they happen to be Black. While it’s obviously understood that these descriptions were common and accepted in this time, that doesn’t mean the effect of such words is diminished especially considering that racism is far from over, and I need only point you to what’s happening in Charlottesville, Virginia to prove my point. What’s said and suggested in this volume is still a common rhetoric over a thousand years later. Things. Haven’t. Changed. And people are literally killed due to those in power believing such stereotypes. I’m far more disappointed in the apologists than I am this volume. The writer(s) of Arabian Nights can make a claim to ignorance. No one in this day and age who has access to a computer or smartphone can make that excuse.
I just…ugh, I’m so disgusted right now.

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Goldie Vance Volume 1
Series Title: Goldie Vance
Author: Hope Larson
Illustrator: Brittney Williams
Date Added: July 19, 2017
Date Started: August 6, 2017
Date Finished: August 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 6 days

Media: Paperback

I loved this. It was really cute, and I enjoyed how it had a decidedly 60s aesthetic, but was neither blatantly racist nor campy.

Title: Shadows on Snow
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tales
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Added: January 12, 2016
Date Started: July 30, 2017
Date Finished: August 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 16 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

This was a nice reinterpretation of the Snow White fairy tale.  All of the elements were present with most of them genderbent.  The beautiful princess is a handsome/beautiful prince; the dwarves are seven, magical sister who are actually princes dispossessed by the very evil king seeking to usurp the virtuous prince’s throne.  I liked that it wasn’t an exact retelling, but rather a mixing of elements as one of the dwarf analogues (the youngest sister) is the narrator and the prince’s love interest as well as his protector, and the sisters each have a particular power instead of just a silly name like Disney gave the Seven Dwarves.  The latter was awesome because it showed the subversion of the usual with the woman being the protector.  Raelynn also had some pretty dark shadows in her past, though I feel like the author sort of forgot about that after it was revealed to Prince Leo.  Regardless, this was an enjoyable and quick read.  I love fairy tale subversions since I write them myself.  In fact this novel made me realize how much of Snow White is in my The Serpent’s Tale…with BOTH main characters.


Books Currently Reading: 7

Title: Red as Blood and White as Bone
Author: Theodora Goss
Date Added: September 10, 2016
Date Started: August 16, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 26%

Besides the fact that this is touted as a “dark” fairy tale (my favorite kind), something in my bones tells me it is not going to end happily.  I also didn’t realize how short it was (only 32 pages), so I’m certain to reach that heartbreaking ending sooner rather than later.  The fact that it concerns a kitchen girl dreaming of miracles who thinks she finds a lost princess in the form of a pale, black-haired beggar woman.  This aligns too well with Sansa’s mien in mentality, not social status, and Klara will find this out to her rue.

Title: The Winter’s Tale
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: August 14, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 13%

It’s been too long since I read anything by the Bard.  I have his entire collection on my Kindle, so I’m going to start reading one of his works in between other classics.  This one is such a great example of #masculinitysofragile.  Like really Leontes?  Because Hermione was able to convince Polixenes to stick around for longer than you, your thoughts immediately go to them not only having some secret tryst, but also having had one in the past so you question the legitimacy of your son?  This is one of Shakespeare’s “problem” plays, I believe as it doesn’t quite fall into either the comedy or tragedy camp, having traits of both.

Title: Monstress #1 – Awakening
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: August 13, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 50%

Holy shit, this graphic novel is as beautifully brutal as it is convoluted.  I may have to read it again to make sure I understand what’s going on.  I feel that GNs can add that layer of complexity though, since they’re normally short enough to read through quickly, not saying that other books can’t, but Monstress is quite a bit confusing in the beginning with how it goes back and forth between past and present. Locke & Key was similar.

Title: An Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Started: July 27, 2017

Unattractive Vampire, An

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 76%

I believe Yulric is gathering a real undead army (not what passes for a “vampyr” nowadays) in order to get what he wants.  While I do like this book and it’s more-on-the-other-edge-of-evil protagonist, I’m wondering if he’s going to do anything to ingratiate himself.  Don’t get me wrong…I love villain characters, but protagonists are supposed to develop, and I’m not really seeing that with Yulric in regards to his relationships with the other characters.  He still has the same thoughts about them he had in the beginning, and I’m hoping that in the end there will at least be some mutual respect.

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: 67%

We really, really need a win for the good guys in this novel, because right now, things still look pretty bleak.  I’m still hoping for the turn around before the end, and I also hope the next book is out before I finish, but that’s not looking likely.  I can’t find anything about it on her website, not even a title :\

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

Media: Hardback/Library
Progress: 63%

While I understand that Mac is full-fledged grieving for her younger brother, what she did in the last chapter was incredibly foolish, and I really think she’s being set up by one of the Librarians.

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

Media: Paperback
Progress: 63%

I honestly think that with each chapter of this book, I agree with the overarching premise of Eagleman’s propositions, but there’s either some fatal flaw or lack in his reasoning, and it involves how he either dismisses or diminishes the overwhelmingly important influence of socialization.  In the last chapter about blameworthiness, while I wholeheartedly agree that the idea of culpability is pretty worthless in terms of preventing crime, I take some issue in how he pretty much brushes off preventative measures when that’s what’s going to prevent them in the future.  He’s absolutely right that we have to figure out what to do with our criminal population now, and I’m behind him when it comes to drug crimes et al, but some of the language he uses like how he refers to where to “warehouse” prisoners, is pretty problematic.  Prisoners are still people.

Like most, I have a touch of vigilantism in terms of what I’d like to do to the most heinous of offenders; however, I know logically, this isn’t the best way to fight crime (though fuck it would be satisfying to torture a serial rapist/pedophile or animal abuser), and I much rather prefer the way other countries, such as Norway, treat even its most violent offenders.  We’re way too focused on the punitive or. more accurately stated, revenge factor of justice, and our recidivism rates show how well that works..


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 3

Title: Goldie Vance Volume 2
Series Title: Goldie Vance
Author: Hope Larson
Illustrator: Brittney Williams
Date Added: August 12, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I greatly enjoyed the first, so it makes sense I’d add the second.

Title: Emma in the Night
Author: Wendy Walker
Date Added: August 14, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

I really can’t turn down a potentially compelling psychological thriller.

Title: The Stillness of the Sky
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tale
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Added: August 16, 2017

I believe this was the book that make me add Shadows on Snow, because Stillness was brought to my attention first, but because I want to read series in order (though in this case I don’t have to, since these all seem like standalone subverted fairy tales), I waited until I finished the Snow White rehash before moving onto this.  I actually thought the series might be by more than one author similar to the older one edited by Ellen Datlow.  I can’t recall the name of the series, but Jane Yolen’s Briar Rose is one of the books in it.  Oh *smacks forehead* it’s called The Fairy Tale Series, and I have one of them, Fitcher’s Brides, on my TBR list.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 484
Change from Last Week: -1


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: 1

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 29

Renya finds herself on the bad side of a desire demon while trying to save the mages in the tower from certain death.  She also showed that while humans (especially templars) can be pretty trying, children are another sort indeed.  Catch them when they’re young before the petty biases and bigotries set in.


Fanfictions On Hold: 2

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

Last Update: February 18, 2017
Latest Chapter: Chapter 18

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

Last Update: August 1, 2016
Latest Chapter: Chapter 39


Fanfictions Added to TBR List This Week: 0


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: 8/9/17          The State of the Reader: 8/23/17–>

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23 thoughts on “The State of the Reader: 8/16/17

  1. I really adored Raising Stony Mayhall, mostly because it was so different from your usual zombie fair that I couldn’t NOT love it. It’s been a few years since I read it but I hope it holds up. 🙂
    Off to make sure I like your review of Arabian Nights. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First I wanted to say that I agree with your reasoning for not continuing reading Arabian Nights. Just because something was accepted doesn’t mean that it’s meaning or words can’t still bother someone. Yes, we are privileged to grow up in a much better day and age but discrimination if all kids still exist and we still have a right to be annoyed at the least by certain comments.

    Now on to the books lol. The Dnow White revamp seems really interesting and the red blood, white bones book looks right up my alley. I’m interested to read your reviews on them if you continue reading. I envy you lol. My goal for August is to finish a book that I just started on really this morning. I have time, but I just feel like ive wasted the first half of the month lol. Thanks for sharing!

    -Luna 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I found out after posting that that another friend of mine felt the same way so yay validation! It’s funny because I’ve read a lot of older/classic books, and I can usually put my presentism aside, but it was so egregious, which of course could have been the translation.

      Shadows on Snow was pretty decent. I have some minor critiques of it, but all in all not a bad read. One way to plump up your reading total is graphic novels lol.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m actually reading through Incognito now and I’m enjoying it. I just babbled about it to you in a message on Twitter, so I’ll not clog up your comments, too (haha).

    You know what book I’m thinking of picking up (sigh and adding to the to-read pile)? The Book of Joan. It’s a dystopian novel (because everyone in the US needs a little more negativity right now) about the world post-global warming and devastated by war, ruled by a celebrity-turned-dictator. It was published in April, so there’s no way this was written as a reaction to the election (at least, unless the author is particularly prolific), but I saw it a while ago, and recently re-saw it in an article about “Books to Read if You Loved Wonder Woman.” So… adding to the problem again 😀

    And children really are universal, aren’t they?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I replied there just now!

      TBH the best celebrity turned president story ever was Idiocracy, and I absolutely loathed that movie when I first saw it. Then it grew on me. That president at least knew he wasn’t the best man for the job once Joe showed up, and he gladly listened to what he was saying about watering the plants instead of using Gatorade.

      I just read the blurb for Book of Joan and it sounds very similar to the plots of FFVII and FFXIII, but LightningEllen would know more than me about the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. EEE! I was so excited about Dweller and Monstress in this post. I really enjoyed both of them. 🙂 I can’t wait to read volume 2 of Monstress. I’ll probably re-read vol. 1 too before I move onto vol. 2 since there was so much to soak in and so many questions to be had.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I’m going to need to read Monstress twice, too! There’s SO much information thrown at you in the first volume. Thankfully, it’s a GN so that won’t be too hard to do. I need to buy more GNs. After I finish Monstress, I don’t have any more in my possession to read D: I bought Dweller immediately. I’ve been finding a bunch of cheap books on Amazon for the Kindle, and apparently I can borrow other ones through Prime, which is what I didn’t with Children of Hurin.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nice! That’s really cool about being able to borrow books through Prime. 😀
        My boyfriend went and picked me up Volume 2 of Monstress, so I’m really pumped to read it (after a quick re-read of vol 1!) 😛
        I really can’t wait to find out what you think of Dweller. 🙂 I really want to read more of Jeff Strand’s work. I think I might even have a couple more of his stories on my kindle that I need to read actually.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I definitely need to reread volume 1. It’s quite convoluted. I made a mistake with how far I was in it though. I thought it was only 4 chapters like the other GNs I’ve read, but it’s 6. I have one more chapter left. I’ll probably reread it when I’m done before getting the next one. I need to buy some more GNs anyway. I don’t have any more to read after this ;(

          Liked by 1 person

  5. It’d be cool if you could take a shelfie for us (as in a shelfie of your books on a shelf). I just moved to a new flat and all my books are on the floor, so it’s a floory I guess. Hmmmm….

    A bit of Shakespeare!? Macbeth is my favourite.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I made a shelfie video once! So I could babble about all of the figurines adoring it among the books 😀

      I love A Midsummer Night’s Dream! It’s been a long time since I read that though, but I have a book of ALL of his works. I’m just happy that at some point between high school and now, I gained the power to understand him without needing the footnotes so graciously provided by my Folger’s copy.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Just hopped onto to Goodreads to like your Arabian Nights review! Nothing triggers my rage like racism, sexism, homophobia, and general hating of innocent people for incredibly stupid reasons by very ignorant assholes!!! GRRR! I wanna Snow Punch something! *deep breaths* But yeah, for my sanity, I’m avoiding most world news these days, haha. I’m just focusing on helping the people in my life that I can, while my heart goes out to everyone I can’t help. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so grumpy about that. I think I might try to find another translation one day. At least I can donate the book somewhere.

      Avoiding world news is totally understandable. I try to share every cat video I see on Facebook to balance tings out. There’s actually a cat cafe that opened near me! I don’t have words for how excited I am :3

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/23/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  8. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/9/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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