The State of the Reader: 2/24/21

<–The State of the Reader: 2/10/21         The State of the Reader: 3/10/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 2

Total: $7.98

Books Finished: 1

Title: The House on Abigail Lane
Author: Kealan Patrick Burke
Date Added: January 9, 2021
Date Started: February 5, 2021

Cover of The House on Abigail Lane by Kealan Patrick BurkeMedia: eBook/Kindle

This was…really good.  Lovecraftian in how it never really answered the questions behind the horror, and only gave you enough to let the potential implications wash over you.  You almost think you’re going to have answers, but then the information you’re given just leads to more questions.  The writing is so solid you believe you’re reading about events that actually happened.  Definitely a five star book and the author now has a new follower.


Currently Reading

Title: Night Fire
Series Title: Night Fire Trilogy
Author: Catherine Coulter
Date Added: February 22, 2021
Date Started: February 23, 2021

Cover of Night Fire by Catherine CoulterMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 19%

Ten years ago me would say “I have no defense for myself for reading this!” Current me couldn’t give a fuck. I’m a mess; this book is messy AF, and there’s a story behind it that might actually be the explanation for my own (paranormal) romance writing paired of course with my love and discovery of Aeriseph fanfic :p

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The State of the Reader: 2/10/21

<–The State of the Reader: 1/27/21         The State of the Reader: 2/24/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 2

Total: $6.98

Books Finished: 3

Title: Medusa’s Daughters
Author: Various
Editor: Theodora Goss
Date Added: December 20, 2019
Date Started: December 14, 2020

Cover of Medusa's Daughters edited by Theodora GossMedia: eBook/Kindle

I didn’t love this.  I didn’t hate it obviously, but I didn’t love it.  It was an interesting collection of stories about “misbehaving” women, which is why I’m sad I didn’t love it, because that’s my aesthetic.  I might change my mind about it once I have the time to think about the stories more, but that’s my initial perspective (and also why I don’t often rate books as soon as I finish them).

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Title: The Graveyard Book
Author: Neil Gaiman
Date Added: April 13, 2013
Date Started: August 9, 2018
Date Finished: September 13, 2018
Reading Duration: 35 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Mid-Grade

Cover of The Graveyard Book by Neil GaimanPages: 286
Publication Date: September 30, 2008
Publisher: HarperCollins
Media: Paperback


In this ingenious and captivating reimagining of Rudyard Kipling’s classic adventure The Jungle Book, Neil Gaiman tells the unforgettable story of Nobody Owens, a living, breathing boy whose home is a graveyard, raised by a guardian who belongs neither to the mortal world nor the realm of the dead. Among the mausoleums and headstones of his home, Bod experiences things most mortals can barely imagine. But real, flesh-and-blood danger waits just outside the cemetery walls: the man who murdered the infant Bod’s family will not rest until he finds Nobody Owens and finishes the job he began many years ago.

A #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of many international awards, including the Hugo Award for best novel and the Locus Award, The Graveyard Book is a glorious meditation on love, loss, survival, and sacrifice . . . and what it means to truly be alive.


Per the blurb, this is a retelling/fanfiction of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, but without the blatantly racist aspects of the original work.  In using the graveyard as a paranormal stand-in for Mowgli’s jungle, Gaiman’s novel serves as a perfect parallel to the “return to your own world” narrative, and could in fact surpass Kipling’s motif to the same.  While Mowgli will never belong to the jungle, one day the graveyard will be Nobody’s place, and the somber meaning of his name will be fulfilled.

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The State of the Reader: 1/27/21

<–The State of the Reader: 1/13/21         The State of the Reader: 2/10/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 3

Total: $4.98

Books Finished: 0


On Hold

Title: Norse Myths That Inspired Final Fantasy VII
Author: M. J. Gallagher
Date Added: October 26, 2020
Date Started: December 8, 2020

Cover of Norse Myths That Inspired Final Fantasy VII by M. J. GallagherMedia: Paperback
Progress: 15%

I don’t know when I’ll be able to come back to this.  Just thinking about picking it back up triggers my gag reflex because of where I had to stop.  I’ve started reading an online translation of “The Maiden Who Travels the Planet” as a  non-fiction/reference/research replacement.  Not sure if I’m going to count it toward my book challenge total, but I probably will since it is on Goodreads.  I’ll probably read On the Way to a Smile and The Kids Are Alright next since I have physical copies of them both.

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The State of the Reader: 1/13/21

<–The State of the Reader: 12/30/20         The State of the Reader: 1/27/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 11

Total: $133.14

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The State of the Reader: 12/30/20

<–The State of the Reader: 12/16/20         The State of the Reader: 1/13/21–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 1


Books Finished: 1

Title: As You Like It
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: March 6, 2018
Date Started: September 3, 2020

Cover of As You Like It by William ShakespeareMedia: eBook/Kindle

I only had like one page left to read of this and finished it last session.  It is such a comedy in both the Shakespeare and “there are only seven types of plot” sense i.e. everyone gets married.  Oh and “rags to riches,” too, as the usurper duke finds Jesus, sees the error of his ways, and gives the old duke back his position.  There was a review on Goodreads that literally summed it up thus.   I still need to look up my own summary to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but this was one of Shakespeare’s easier plays to follow (despite the convoluted irony of Rosalind pretending to be Ganymede pretending to Rosalind, which frankly was hilarious), so I’m just doing that as a formality.

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The Riddle of the Wren by Charles de Lint (DNF)

Title: The Riddle of the Wren
Author: Charles de Lint
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: August 26, 2018
Date DNF: September 5, 2018
Reading Duration: 10 days
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)

Cover of The Riddle of the Wren by Charles de LintPages: 295
Publication Date: 1984
Publisher: Firebird
Media: Paperback (Library)


Minda Sealy is afraid of her own nightmares. Then, one night, while asleep, she meets Jan, the Lord of the Moors, who has been imprisoned by Ildran the Dream-master-the same being who traps Minda. In exchange for her promise to free him, Jan gives Minda three tokens. She sets out, leaving the safety of her old life to begin a journey from world to world, both to save Jan and to solve “the riddle of the Wren”-which is the riddle of her very self. “The Riddle of the Wren” was Charles de Lint’s first novel, and has been unavailable for years. Fans and newcomers alike will relish it.


The Riddle of the Wren is the type of old school fantasy novel I would’ve devoured in my younger, high school days.  Published in 1984, it’s exactly the thing that would’ve caught my fancy, and while I started reading Charles de Lint during that time, I cut my teeth on his later works, and this one flew under my radar.  You can definitely tell he was a fledgling author in this novel, and it turns out Riddle is his first.  Like so many books of that era, it begins with the locale’s description before it gets to the main character.  It does fascinate me how the conventions of writing change through the decades, and what was acceptable and expected then would earn an immediate rejection now.

Both the main character Minda and her best friend Janey are likable, and the trope of Missing Mom/Dickhead Dad is strong with regards to the former.  Janey’s description leads me to believe she’s a WOC, too, so score one for de Lint being inclusive even back then.  Minda’s father Hadon blames her for her mother’s death even though she didn’t die in childbirth (not…that that would make it valid either), but rather when she was between one and two.  Arguably, of course, women can still succumb to complications even after that length of time, but either way Hadon is still a jackass.  Minda has a paternal uncle who would be a much better father than her bio, but even if she did manage to escape, Hadon would just “drag her back,” and apparently Tomalin, the uncle, would let him.   While Hadon isn’t nearly as abusive to his daughter as the father in Deerskin *shudders* we do not diminish abuse by those degrees.

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The State of the Reader: 12/16/20

<–The State of the Reader: 12/2/20         The State of the Reader: 12/30/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 2


Books Finished: 3

Title: Gods and Myths of Northern Europe
Author: Hilda Roderick Ellis Davidson
Date Added: September 21, 2017
Date Started: May 1, 2020
Date Finished: December 4, 2020

Cover of Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by Hilda Roderick Ellis DavidsonMedia: Paperback

This book was not what I expected.  I thought it would be a retelling and examination of the Norse myths, but it more operated from the position that you had some idea about them.  Not to say I novice couldn’t garner a great deal from this, but it was more of a explanation of historical analysis of how the Norse gods fit in with, informed, shaped and was shaped by Viking culture.  I’d still recommend reading The Poetic Edda and The Prose Edda especially since Ellis refers to Snorri a lot.  I am very glad I read this especially considering the book explicitly about FFVII and Norse mythology I’m reading right now.  I’m still referring back to this as I read that.

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The State of the Reader: 12/2/20

<–The State of the Reader: 11/18/20         The State of the Reader: 12/16/20–>

A biweekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Purchased: 3


Books Finished: 1

Title: The Snow Queen
Series Title: The Snow Queen Cycle
Author: Joan D. Vinge
Date Added: December 11, 2014
Date Started: September 22, 2020
Date Finished: November 26, 2020

Cover of the Snow Queen by Joan D. VingeMedia: Hardback (Library)

Another story about identity, huh…maybe if I’d read (more) sci-fi when I was younger, I wouldn’t be as shocked to find this trope.  I’m not really shocked; it’s common because it cuts to the core of what it means to be human.  “Who am I?” is a question all of us ask whether consciously or unconsciously at some point, and the answer is rarely simple, especially for those of us who experience Imposter Syndrome.

There are three other books in the series, but only one direct sequel The Summer Queen.  The other two focus on one of the cops or Blues.  I’d like to read them eventually.  The books are out of print, which makes them more expensive.  I’d like to pick up this one as well as the next, as I have to return it to the library in a few days, so I won’t have a reference for my eventual review when I get to it.

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The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

Title: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Author: Leslye Walton
Date Added: August 2, 2016
Date Started: August 6, 2018
Date Finished: September 3, 2018
Reading Duration: 28 days
Genre: Fantasy/Magical Realism, Paranormal, Young Adult (YA)

Cover of The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye WaltonPages: 301
Publication Date: March 27, 2014
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Media: Paperback


Magical realism, lyrical prose, and the pain and passion of human love haunt this hypnotic generational saga.

Foolish love appears to be the Roux family birthright, an ominous forecast for its most recent progeny, Ava Lavender. Ava—in all other ways a normal girl—is born with the wings of a bird.

In a quest to understand her peculiar disposition and a growing desire to fit in with her peers, sixteen-year old Ava ventures into the wider world, ill-prepared for what she might discover and naïve to the twisted motives of others. Others like the pious Nathaniel Sorrows, who mistakes Ava for an angel and whose obsession with her grows until the night of the Summer Solstice celebration.

That night, the skies open up, rain and feathers fill the air, and Ava’s quest and her family’s saga build to a devastating crescendo.

First-time author Leslye Walton has constructed a layered and unforgettable mythology of what it means to be born with hearts that are tragically, exquisitely human.


Note: I’m going to split this into two sections: Review and Analysis.  The Analysis section will have spoilers whereas the Review will be just that.


Review

Foreseeing the future…means nothing if there is nothing to be done to prevent it.

Ava Lavender is a girl born with brown speckled bird wings in a world where magic might blend with the mundane but does nothing to mitigate grief.    Ava’s life is seeped with sorrow, and she came by it honestly.  The first part of the novel lays out the past to feature her French forebears with the apt surname of “Roux.”

Picture of Common Rue from Wikipedia

Pronunciation the same as the plant

All of them saddled with unlucky love and dying too young to reap the full sorrows.  Only her grandmother Emilienne survived to birth her mother Viviane who herself suffered love unreturned.

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