The State of the Reader: 8/23/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/16/17          The State of the Reader: 8/30/17–>

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. Traitor’s Blades by Sebastian de Castell: Kept – This wasn’t a hard sell for me at all given the series is called Greatcoats, and I love greatcoats in general (nothing beats a Badass Longcoat).  It was also an easy sell since it was also really cheap.
  2. Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry: Kept – I had no idea The Giver was the first book of a quartet.  This is a definite must-read.
  3. Hunted by Meagan Spooner: Kept – More revamped fairy tales. This time it’s Beauty and the Beast.
  4. Santa Took Them by William Malmborg: Passed – I’m pissed about this pass.  Maybe this was the author’s intention, but I hated all of the characters introduced in the first chapter.  The dad was a douche.  The mom was annoying.  The kids were irritating, but them I gave a pass, because they were just normal kids.  I guess it’s more I hated how they were written, and there was a really bad pussy joke (not as bad as the Game of Thrones one, but still pretty awful).  Anyway, this is about murders that took place on Christmas Eve 2005, and the sole survivor is released from a mental institution ten years later when they start again.
  5. For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund: Kept – This is one of those books I added because I loved the title, and it doesn’t seem as if the text is going to disappoint.  Starting off as a series of letters exchanged between a boy and a girl, its foundation seems to be young love, heartbreaking rejecting and re-reconnection through adventure.
  6. In the Garden of Iden by Kage Baker: Kept (RWTR) – I would’ve bought this if it wasn’t over my $2.99 insta-limit.  Intertwining the concepts of time travel and immortality with a sense of greed and a lack of bio (or really any) ethics is one clear way to get me interesting in a novel.
  7. A Brother’s Price by Wen Spencer: Kept – In my grand tradition of reading subverted stories (like the Flipped Fairy Tales), this novel takes place in a world where male children are rare and therefore coveted.  The main character, the oldest male with around 28 sisters, only has one use: to be sold off to marriage for to the highest bidder.  It’s a painfully common trope for girls, and it doesn’t make it any better when the tables are turned, because Jerin’s world has always been this way.  I wasn’t quite certain about it initially, but it was interesting enough to go on my library shelf.
  8. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff: Kept (RWTR) – Holy fantastic opening line.  It’s brutal, raw, and reminds me of ASOIAF.
  9. Bull by David Elliott: Passed – Disappointing to say the least.  I love retold stories, especially fairy tales and myths, but I didn’t like the style of this.

Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastian de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017
Date Purchased: August 17, 2017

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

Title: Moon Called
Series Title: Mercy Thompson
Author: Patricia Briggs
Date Added: August 23, 2016
Date Purchased: August 18, 2017

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

Title: Snow White & the Seven Angels
Series Title: Queerky Tales
Author: Rhys Ethan Christopher
Date Added: August 23, 2017
Date Purchased: August 23, 2017

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

Total Price: $5.98
Average Price: $1.99


Books Finished This Week: 4

Title: Red as Blood and White as Bone
Author: Theodora Goss
Date Added: September 10, 2016
Date Started: August 16, 2017
Date Finished: August 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days

Media: eBook/Kindle

Despite its predictability, I really enjoyed this story.  The closest fairy tale would probably be Cinderella with the princess forced to be a scullery maid, but then sneaking off to the ball to dance with the prince.  Something far worse than a glass slipper was lost though.  Since this was touted as a dark fairy tale, I knew there would be no happily ever after, and I enjoyed how it transitioned into modern day struggles for freedom from oppression.  Also, whether or not the magical element actually exists is anyone’s guess.

Title: Monstress #1 – Awakening
Series Title: Monstress
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: August 13, 2017
Date Finished: August 21, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days

Media: Paperback

This definitely needs a reread.  It was quite convoluted with so many plots going on all at once.  It was hard to keep all of the characters straight, and there was enough intrigue and betrayal to rival Game of Thrones. 

Title: An Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Started: July 27, 2017
Date Finished: August 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 26 days

Unattractive Vampire, An

Media: eBook/Kindle

I’m not sure how I feel about this one.  I think it needs to marinate for a few days, but there’s something bothering me about it, and I think it’s that there’s really no one to root for.  While I liked the subversion of a subversion, and I enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek nature of the narrative, I didn’t particularly like any of the characters.  Now, you should know by now I’m all for Grey and Gray Morality (I love ASOIAF for god’s sake), but even with series like Song, you still have someone to root for even if they’re not a wholly good character.  There are enough characters complex enough to warrant understanding why they’re doing what they do.  Even if they may be doing not so moral things, it’s at least psychologically understandable.

With this…it was amusing, but there really wasn’t any character growth.  By the time to get to the review, I’m sure I’ll have plenty of opportunity to stew on and elaborate on my critiques.  If you like witty humor and like subversions of modern vampire tropes, I think 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
Date Finished: August 23, 2017
Reading Duration: 42 days

Media: Hardback

Ugh, when is the next one going to be out??  I don’t know how this book was more heartbreaking than the first, but somehow it managed to be.  There’s so much I want to say, but it will give it away.

Just checked and the third book is pending publication in April of next year, and there’s a fourth book apparently, so this is going to be at least a quartet.


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 4%

It’s blatantly clear the the main character Toby is a troubled child.  The way the first chapter with him describes his thought processes while he’s holding a pocketknife.  Be that as it may, I feel bad for how frightened he was by the monster we know eventually becomes his friend.  The prologue chapter clearly makes the creature(s) sympathetic, so I’m expecting a wild ride.

Title: The Metaphysical Detective
Series Title: Riga Hayworth
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Date Added: October 22, 2016
Date Started: August 20, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 10%

I’m 75/25 on this book.  75 for the plot/intrigue; 25 for the characters.  Neither the main nor any of the others are doing anything for me yet.  The plot is compelling enough for me to keep reading for now, and hopefully some facet of Riga’s personality will shine through eventually.

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

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 37%

I can’t wait to review this one.  I’m glad I decided to start slipping Shakespeare into my Classic reading in between the others.  Honestly…I could see writing a modern version of this.  As I’m reading it, I’m thinking about it.  We’ll see what happens.

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

Media: Hardback/Library
Progress: 76%

The language in this is so lush, and I’m in the strange position of liking both love interests of the main character.  I guess because they could both be considered goth boys of a particular sort lol.  That’s a rare situation though I know that one will end in heartache.

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

Media: Paperback
Progress: 69%

I think with this I’m just going to copy and paste my thoughts/notes.  It’s probably the easiest way to talk about it.  I don’t know the dates I wrote these (though I might be able to find out by turning on some feature on OneNote, but eh):

Eagleman makes a counter argument to the idea that all humans are created equal and I don’t disagree. All humans are not equal; however, we all should be treated equitably and fairly regardless of arbitrary differences. I disagree with what he says about all humans being equal before the law. That’s bullshit. The law is upheld by people who bring their biases and prejudices to judgments. People are treated differently based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, nationality, etc. The root of what he’s saying is correct: every brain brings something different to the table, but he’s assuming the law treats everyone equally when it absolutely doesn’t.

As much as I want to believe in a soul (and I do want to), the rational side of me says that we are our brains and our brains are us. Saying “my” brain is redundant, because it is me. That’s all I am, and all I am is contained in this three pound blob of jello. This isn’t to say that my experiences haven’t shaped it, but without it I have no experiences. Somehow through chemical and electrical means, they are all housed in the gooey mechanism that houses what’s known as my mind. While I do have thoughts that there’s more than this or transcendence, those, too, are literally in my brain. Can we transcend physical form? Unsure. Energy theory suggests it as does quantum theory I believe, but there are no definitive answers.  Plus I don’t know nearly enough about quantum theory to say.


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 12

Title: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
Series Title: Fairyland
Author: Catherynne M. Valente
Date Added: August 17, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I literally own this book and didn’t realize it.  I think I bought it with the Amazon gift cards I received for Christmas, though I thought I’d included all of those when I updated.  I think I did, but I must not have marked it on my physical-copy shelf, and I took it off because I had another book by the same author on my TBR list (which I also own).  Either way, now it’s back on, and the Goodreads list is (more) accurate.

Title: The Killing Moon
Series Title: Dreamblood
Author: N. K. Jemisin
Date Added: August 17, 2017
Recommended By: Cupcakes and Machetes

This is another one that I had on my list that I removed due to already having one by the same author, but since this was something I added due to another blogger’s review, I think that’s going to be another exception.  Hell, I may even read this before the other Jemisin book that I own.

Title: The Boy Who Drew Monsters
Author: Keith Donohue
Date Added: August 17, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

Another re-add due to my own capriciousness.

Title: The Wonder
Author: Emma Donoghue
Date Added: August 17, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

The last re-add for the reasons stated above.

Title: Being and Time
Author: Martin Heidegger
Date Added: August 18, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

The author of Incognito David Eagleman mentioned Heidegger in the chapter I’m current reading, which centers around “knowing thyself.”  I remembered I wanted to read him, because he, among some other German philosophers, are referenced in Final Fantasy VII by having them be used for side characters.  Seriously.  My favorite game references German philosophers.  Bugenhagen is another one, and I know his name is also used in The Omen.  He’s the person who tells the main characters about the seven daggers of Tel Megiddo that can kill the antichrist.  I think Palmer is another one, but fucked if I know what his first name is.

Title: The Suspenseful Collection: Volume One
Authors: Kim Knight & Didi Oviatt
Date Added: August 18, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book (Goodreads)

The blurb on this reminds me of Jeffrey Archer’s Twisted Tales, which I read back in high school.  They were a lot of fun.  Stories like this either work brilliantly or fall completely flat.  Due to whose recommended it, I’m confident this book will be the former.

Title: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue
Series Title: Guide
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Date Added: August 18, 2017
Recommended By: Bookish Muggle

Wow does this book have a lot of potential win.  Monty the main character is bi.  His best friend Percy (whom he has a crush on) is a person of color, and the two of them and his sister Felicity go traipsing off across Europe, though it sounds like Monty is using his travels as an excuse to run from his overbearing father and the responsibilities his position bestows upon him.

Title: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter
Author: Theodora Goss
Date Added: August 19, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

It wasn’t recommended by her, but I find it funny that the day after I add this due to finishing Ms. Goss’s short, dark fairy tale, I see a review for the book above by Kim of By Hook or By Book. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but she gives it a high rating.  From the blurb, it seems like Goss is subverting more stories, this time ones of the Victorian and Romantic era where the monsters of men’s creation take on their truly monstrous creators.

Title: Monstress #2
Series Title: Monstress
Author: Marjorie M. Liu
Illustrator: Sana Takeda
Date Added: August 21, 2017

Finish one; add the next.  I need to buy a whole bunch of graphic novels, because I’m out of any to read.

Title: Magicians of the God: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilizations
Author: Graham Hancock
Date Added: August 22, 2017
Recommended By: Lucifer Means Lightbringer

While I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence to support what this book is proposing about the ancient and more advanced civilizations destroyed by a meteor strike, the strike itself might be a possibility.  I’m more apt to believe the latter rather than the former not because of eerie coincidences with my favorite stories (though there is that), but rather because there’s little evidence to support the advanced civilizations (aka History Channel aliens), but there are apparently oral histories about it from indigenous peoples.  Whether this is folklore or not, I don’t know, but at the very least I’ll take this book as a symbolism source for both ASOIAF and FFVII, since it proposes a comet/meteor strike somewhere in the north o.O

The recommender is someone I haven’t used yet, but I’ve been listening to his podcasts for the past few days.  He has symbolic evidence tied to the text of ASOIAF that the catalyst of the story is mythical astrology  involving an eclipse coinciding with a comet strike to one of the Planetos’s moons that cause moon meteors to rain down, which caused the Long Night.  It’s something I’ve suspected for a long time, and I now have much more evidence to support it.  Additionally, the more underlying symbolism and mythology I learn about ASOIAF, the more I strengthen my position that it and FFVII pull from the same pool of paradigms.  I know have Venusian symbolism, Mithras, and the Younger Drays impact to research.

Title: Snow White & the Seven Angels
Series Title: Queerky Tales
Author: Rhys Ethan Christopher
Date Added: August 23, 2017
Recommended By: The Writing Hufflepuff

Did I hear seven angels??  This was an insta-add considering I love Snow White retellings, there will be seven angels involved (dear god I hope they’re hot), the main character White is looking for his prince, and I have a feeling he has to give up that secret because people probably expect he wants a princess.  Psh, princesses are overrated.  Also I just “bought” this because it’s free on Kindle 🙂

Title: A Reaper at the Gates
Series Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Date Added: August 23, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

The third installment of the Ember series.  It’s not out until April of next year.  At least it has a release date *grumbles while glaring at The Winds of Winter*

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 491
Change from Last Week: +7


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 30

♫All shall fade, all shall fade…♫

I can’t help it.  Whenever I see anything about the fade the song Pippin sings to Denethor pops into my head.  While the Steward of Gondor couldn’t really care less about the melody, I always found it beautiful and haunting.  Give a listen if you like and/or if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.


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: 8/16/17          The State of the Reader: 8/30/17–>

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

  1. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/16/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

  2. Ooh, I just recently added The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter to my TBR list too. (Thanks to By Hook or By Book’s review of it). 🙂
    I’m waiting for a bit of free time to present itself so I can go ahead and read vol. 2 of Monstress. Can’t wait to see where that story goes. 😀 I’m curious to see if we’ll get some answers or just wind up with even more questions when we finish reading it. lol I’m hoping to squeeze Monstress vol. 2 in this weekend if I can.
    And omg Pippin’s song! Yesssss! I love that song too. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • I started rereading it again tonight to see if I could figure out what the hell was going on with Maika and Tuyo. Like just a month ago they were talking about Maika’s mission, but then at the end Tuyo is trying to suffocate her in the sarcophagus?? Like was that the plan because she knew Maika had the monster in her and would break out or was she honestly trying to kill her? The story is SO convoluted.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I ended up skipping the re-read and just dug right into volume 2. I really enjoyed it and I feel like although there’s still plenty of questions left at the end of the day, we also get some more answers and learn more about the past. It was a really good volume and I just can’t get over how gorgeous that art work is. 🙂 I’m still gonna have to go back and read vol. 1 though because I’d honestly forgotten about that bit with Tuyo and the sarcophagus. lol

        Liked by 1 person

        • I decided not to reread the first volume either lol. I started, but realized I really didn’t need to, and I still have a ton of questions. The artwork is utterly gorgeous.

          I wound up flipping back and forth from the beginning to the end to make sure I was seeing it correctly. I’m REALLY curious about that. Are they in cahoots? Did her best friend betray her?

          Liked by 1 person

  3. *FLAILS ALL ABOUT* I’m SO excited that you picked up Traitor’s Blade and Mooncalled!! I loved both and can’t wait to see what you think of them.
    I need to read the follow up book to Killing Moon. I’ve been working on keeping up with series I’ve already started but I think I’m going to have a make a newer, more comprehensive list for next year. August, I’m already thinking of new years book resolutions. >_<

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: The State of the Reader: 8/30/17 | The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

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