The Books of 2020

So 2020, am I right?  What else can be said about the year that hasn’t already been spoken?

Let’s talk books!

I’m going to do it a bit differently than I did it last year.  I found a template that I created but never used so this year I decided to remedy that.


Favorite Book

I haven’t reviewed this yet, so I don’t want to say too much, but I knew this had the highest chance of being my GOAT for 2020.  A bold claim, I know, since I finished reading it in February, and indeed, there was another book that almost edged it out, but I’m a sucker for fantasy/sci-fi with realistic emotional impact, and the female MC is so 2020 it hurts.  We all know the 2020 attitude of *shrug* “Yeah that might as well happen” regardless of what batshit crazy thing occurs, and after surviving literal pestilence, Sarah would react just like that to our own.


Favorite Series

I have so far completed the second book of this series, but it’s still my favorite for 2020.  I mean it’s a paranormal romance series about ANGELS ffs, so easy sell.  Anyway, per the the third book’s blurb, the main angel’s evil mom shows back up to drive him into wrathful insanity so that’ll be a totally new thing for me to read about *nods* EXCITING.

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20 Questions Book Tag

Another one from the indomitable Writer Michelle Payne.  I think I can answer 20 book questions 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

Hm, that’s one of those “it depends” questions.  If the series remains fresh and relevant, keep going, but if the plot lines are going stale and the characters are stalling, I think it’s time to retire it.  I’d say 20+ books is too much with the same characters and setting.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

They’re evil and I love them. Re: Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the Dreamer cover

3. Hard copy or paperback?

I prefer paperback.  They’re easier to carry around and to read.  Hardback usually has an annoying cover that, while aesthetically pleasing, tends to flap around and get in the way.

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The State of the Writer: 3/25/18

<–The State of the Writer: 3/11/18          The State of the Writer: 4/8/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,564
Prior Word Count: 261,397
Word Difference: +164
Status: Revising
Progress: Editing Chapter 3

No source on this lovely line drawing, mores the pity, but neither of my source sites are yielding any hits.

I’m about halfway through the revision/reedit of Chapter 3.  I was even up until around 4:00 last night working on it (and probably contributed to me passing out this afternoon), so editing marches on.

Project: Story Audio Recording
Title:
Northern Lights
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Status: Prepping
Progress: Editing Chapter 1

So I’m essentially editing another story, since I obviously can’t do any kind of audio recording if the “script” (as it were) isn’t up to date.  It always amazes me how much one’s writing can evolve over a short period of time.  I wrote/edited Northern Lights only around two years ago, but I’m finding and fixing some pretty clunky parts.  What’s funny is I did a recording of the full chapter and liked it (at the time), but when it comes to writing there’s always room for improvement, and I doubt any writer’s ever satisfied.  It’s still better than rereading things I wrote a decade ago *shudder*  It’s probably better right now since my voice has still been a problem, but I have honey and lemon to put in my tea, so I suppose there’s hope.


In Progress

  • Games Alive – I am so close to finishing the list of favorite games per year since I was born.  I believe I’m in the ’10’s now or very close to it.  I’m hoping for one more session to write and one more to edit and post.

Rough weekend.  I spent most of it sleeping due to fatigue, and I didn’t get a great deal of what I wanted to accomplish done.  Now to attempt to catch up before it’s time to get ready for work tomorrow.  

What creative stuff are you working on?  Let’s discuss in the comments!

<–The State of the Writer: 3/11/18          The State of the Writer: 4/8/18–>

Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Title: Never Never
Series: Never Never
Authors: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Date Added: August 26, 2016
Date Started: July 20, 2017
Date Finished: July 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 10 days
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The cover of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn FisherPages: 326
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Publisher: Hoover Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle


 “How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.” 

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They’ve been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning…they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love…every memory has vanished. “I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.” 

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be…the more they question why they were ever together to begin with. 

“I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie.”


My first impression of this novel broken in three was of amazement.  Charlize or rather Charlie and Silas have no idea who they or their families are, nor do they have a clue what happened to them to cause this.  Through a series of events, they both realize they’re in the same boat and try to figure out what the hell is going on and why they’re in this situation.  Attempting to both solve the mystery of their memory loss and keep anyone from realizing it’s occurred would be daunting enough, but they also must navigate the social travails of high school, family life, and the fact that there’s bad blood between Silas and Charlie’s fathers.

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The State of the Writer: 8/6/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

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: 266,754
Prior Word Count: 266,907
Word Difference: -153
Status: Prepping to post Chapter 10
Progress: Preliminary review

Editing Date Started: May 14, 2017
Editing Date Finished: August 6, 2017
Editing Duration: 84 days

After 84 days, I’m finally finished the edit of this chapter…at least I hope I am.  I completed the fourth edit this afternoon/evening right before drafting and posting this, but I still want to do a breeze through to check the pacing, because I’m still not entirely sure about that.  This…was a tough chapter to edit, and it’s really funny how the length of a chapter has little to do with the difficulty.  I’m sure there were longer chapters prior to this that didn’t take nearly as long, as I’m almost certain this was the longest editing duration so far.  The cover image is already prepped with words and all, so the next scheduled editing session should consist of that pacing check, and once I’m satisfied that none of you will be too bored with it, I’ll post Chapter 10.

FYI this week’s picture is exactly how I see their height differential.  Hell, she could possibly be standing on her toes and still be that petite.  It’s a minor pet peeve, but I can’t imagine the Great General being short, and I know I’ve probably beaten this horse long dead, but this was my main disappointment with my commissioned picture.

Quote: “Little flower, this world belongs to you, and your life will be wonderful.”


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for An Ember in the Ashes yesterday evening so I’m down one review, but I also just finished the Zelda manga I was reading, so there’s another.  I’m just going to look at my book reviews as yet another endless task *shrug* I am going to review Never Never in one post not three, so that cuts it down a bit.

  1. Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (DNF)
  2. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  3. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  4. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  5. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  7. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  8. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  9. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  11. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  12. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 551
Current Word Count: 1071
Word Difference: +520
Status: Drafting

I made it to the “game proper” in my Story part (you’ll understand what that means when you read it), and like most of my reviews, a ton of revelations came flooding my way as I’m working on it.  There are a lot of things that don’t add up, and while they could be errors on the developers’ part, SOMA seems too well done for all of the inconsistencies to be due to that alone.  I’m starting to wonder if my first thought about it was correct, even though it’s never confirmed and could definitely be argued.  It’s similar to the plot of the Futurama episode “Obsoletely Fabulous,” where Bender receives an upgrade.  While obviously the show plays itself for laughs, there’s a definite “Reality is what you make of it” motif in the mix.


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: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 8/2/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/26/17          The State of the Reader: 8/9/17–>

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 Moonborn: or, Moby-Dick on the Moon by D. F. Lovett: Kept – A book by a fellow blogger that has a thousand times more excitement in the first page than the classic had in the entire novel?  Of course!
  2. The Jekyll Revelation by Robert Masello: Kept – I haven’t read the classic this is based on or rather springs from, but it’s a well known narrative, and I’m sure I”ll be able to get by.
  3. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: Kept – This is touted as a space opera, and given how much I loved Saga paired with the few pages of the sample I read, and I think it’s a good find.
  4. Hyperion by Dan Simmons: Kept – I’m wracking up the sci-fi lately with this one, the above and the first sample book.  The language is a bit tech/jargon-y, but I’m used to that in fantasy, too.  I’ want to know why these Time Tombs are so deadly.  I want to know the nature of the Shrike.  I want to know about the seven pilgrims.
  5. The Secret Life of Souls by Jack Ketchum & Lucky McGee: Kept – It’s a dog story, and the dog better not die.
  6. The Martian by Andy Weir: Kept – I love stories that start after the disaster has occurred.  Even if the explanation is kind of boring (which it normally isn’t for me), you know at least you have something to look forward to in the aftermath.  I like the way it’s written as a journal, and since I’ve never seen the movie, I’m going into it fresh.
  7. Wake of Vultures by Lila Bowen: Kept (RWTR) – I loved the voice from the get-go and when I realized the main character is half-Black, half-Native American and she’s pretty much an unwanted foundling who’s treated little better than a slave, that was all I needed.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: The Moonborn: or, Moby-Dick on the Moon
Author: D.F. Lovett
Date Added: November 15, 2016
Date Purchased: July 27, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $4.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Writer: 7/30/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/23/17          The State of the Writer: 8/6/17–>

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: 266,907
Prior Word Count: 267,081
Word Difference: -174
Status: Editing
Progress: 4th edit

I know I used this picture for Chapter 6 of Northern Lights, but it goes well with this week’s quote, and I’m running dry on image ideas since I’m well into my third month of and 4th editing adventure.

I think I can say this edit will be the last full one.  I kind of do want to really scrutinize the content of this chapter, since it still seems a bit long-winded, but at the very least I’ll be deleting edited words *rolls eyes*

Quote: *I…answered her prayers,* he realized in rue.  *I’m what she was begging for.* He blinked several times, staring down at the terrified maid in his arms.  

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The State of the Reader: 7/26/17

<–The State of the Reader: 7/19/17          The State of the Reader: 8/2/17–>

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 Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid: Kept – I’m really on an AI/synthetic kick lately.  This has led me to a conclusion that I should have figured out years ago.  Like most of my revelations, it starts with VII.  I’m pretty sure my favorite genre isn’t fantasy, but rather science fantasy.  I actually really love the fusion of elements from both.  It makes me wish I’d recognized that in Star Wars when I was younger,  but I like it now so it’s okay.  Anyway, I loved this novel’s brutality and incongruence of having a teenage girl be a synthetic killing machine, and the book was really cheap on Amazon, so I bought it on Kindle.
  2. Faller by Will McIntosh: Kept (RWTR) – I really do seem to find myself repeating paradigms.  Like the book I just started reading this week, this is about utter loss of memory, but instead of just two characters, it’s everyone.
  3. The Bird Box by Josh Malerman: Kept – I almost didn’t.  The language seemed a little stilted and tangled, but by the second page, it showed it was worth its salt.
  4. Firstlife by Gena Showalter; Kept – I loved the tongue-in-cheek emails between what I’m assuming is a soldier or officer and his superior who is a general, but the former character opens up the first email with an almost insolent “Duuuuude,” to which the general reminds him that he should call him “Sir.”  The next email is the soldier using the title ad naseaum and still being completely insolent.  It was hilarious.
  5. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs: Kept – This is the book the unfortunate John Carter film was based on.  Apparently, the movie wasn’t terrible; it just had terrible release timing.  I read less than the first page of this book, and I love the language.  The price was too cheap to pass up.
  6. IQ by Joe Ide: Kept (RWTR) – Writers are often admonished for using prologues.  Anyone who doesn’t see the merit in the one for this book can shove it.  I decided to read it based on that alone.  It was chilling and terrifying even as it came off so simply.
  7. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel: Kept – I’ve never read (what becomes) a post-apocalyptic story with such lush, prosaic writing.  We’re also introduced to at least two of the characters who survive the event(s) that cause the apocalypse.
  8. Timekeeper by Tara Sim: Kept – My Kindle was dying so I only read the first two pages of the sample, but I’m very interested in what the hell happened to 2:00.  I just disappeared.  Has daylight savings time become sentient?  I suppose I’ll have to read to find out.

Books Purchased This Week: 8

Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Date Added: October 28, 2016
Date Purchased: July 20, 2017

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

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The State of the Writer: 7/23/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/16/17          The State of the Writer: 7/30/17–.

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: 267,081
Prior Word Count: 266,620
Word Difference: +461
Status: Editing
Progress: Pending 4th edit

I finally finished the third edit/revision of Chapter 10.  Since I did so much, I obviously have to do a fourth (and hopefully last) one.  I have a sinking sensation that Chapter 11 is going to be a difficult edit, too.  I’d started it before insofar as doing some color coding, but then I decided I’d hold off until I did the full edit.  There’s never a dull moment in the life of a writer/blogger.

Quote: You did not have to be dragged through hell to dwell in Heaven’s Gate.”

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The State of the Reader: 7/5/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/28/17          The State of the Reader: 7/12/17–>

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 Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: Kept – I had this on my RWTR list, but I bumped it off of that.  It’s interesting, but I’m not chaffing at the bit to read it.  I put it on my library shelf though, so I’m sure I’ll get to it soon due to that marvelous resource.
  2. In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang: Passed – I can’t get into the writing style, and the poor editing job doesn’t help.  I also read a review that said it was heavy handed in religion.  Since the sample showed the main character seeming to be exasperated with the concept, this is probably going to be a “come to Jesus” type of novel where he realizes the error of his ways in being a Doubting Thomas, and stories like that just don’t interest me.  3 Gates of the Dead is by one of my very devout Catholic author friends where the main character has the Doubting Thomas mien, but by the end of the book, he still has his doubts and is trying to come to terms with everything.  He’s not completely throwing away his belief in God, but doubts don’t just disappear, and it makes the MC more human and relatable.  The premise of In the Eyes of Madness seems like something that would really draw my interest since I believe it starts off with the MC having some issue with his mother, and then he doesn’t know what’s real anymore before horror ensues (I’m probably simplifying it too much, but you get the gist of why this would pique my interest), but I have to pass.
  3. King’s Folly by Jill Williamson: Kept – I have a great fondness for main characters in command, control, or a leadership position who don’t abuse their power and authority.  I don’t recall the captain’s name, but when an earthquake strikes right before he pulls his ship into port, his actions and the way his men react to him clearly show he’s worthy of their respect.  While he doesn’t go down with his ship, he is the last to leave after making sure everyone else escaped.  He also notes that many of his men can’t swim.  The fact that he knows this means he cares enough to find out,; therefore, I care enough to read more.
  4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: Kept – I really thought I wasn’t going to like this because on the surface it seems a bit too Harry Potter like (especially with the first sentence mentioning “half bloods”), but there’s a distinctive difference in style and mien.  While both this and J. K. Rowling’s series have a young, white male protagonist with special powers, the source of magic and the reason humans can wield it is never fully outlined in HP’s world.  It appears to just be genetic with no particular progenitor.  Percy is the son of Poseidon, which means this book/series is going to utilize, at least on the surface, classical mythology.
  5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: Kept – It’s hard for me to turn my back on winter tales.  I’m quite obsessed with that season.  What also drew me to this were the wife’s depressive thoughts and suicide ideation.
  6. Mirror Image by Michael Scott: Passed – It’s a mystery, horror thriller about an evil mirror, but it just didn’t grab me.
  7. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone: Kept – A dead god and a young woman who was thrown out of her hidden school to crash to earth in a heap.  Sounds like there’s some Paradise Lost influence going on with this, and I’m all about that.
  8. Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen: Kept (RWTR) – I missed downloading this one when I was going through my list.  It’s from 2013 and I’m downloading ones from 2016.  I’m glad I noticed it as I was going through a new batch of book samples.  I’ve read Jane Yolen before.  Her Briar Rose is one of the most haunting fairy tale reworkings I’ve ever read.
  9. The Last Wish by Andrej Sapokowski: Kept – This is the book The Witcher game series is based on.  I was going to say game devs love people with white hair, but it’s not just them.  We could blame Michael Moorcock for this but it’s one of those tropes that’s older than dirt or as old as religion.
  10. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit, this one surprised me.  I expected to give it a pass, because it’s urban fantasy and takes place in modern times, and this is exactly what I said in my latest State of the Gamer post about not discounting genres/formats.  I like Mercy.  I like that she’s a female mechanic and no one seems to give her shit for that.  I’m actually hyped to read this book.
  11. Never Never by Colleen Hoover: Kept (RWTR)/Purchased – I had to force myself to stop reading this sample.  I’ve read, seen, and played many stories about amnesia.  It’s a trope so common it’s become trite, but this take on it is utterly new.  Bounced between two points of view, both characters lose all memory of who they are including their names while they’re in the middle of their school day.  It would be like you’re just going about your business, and all of a sudden all memory of your past just vanishes.  You have to pretend you know people whose faces you don’t recognize (you don’t even know your own), because how would someone that’s known you your entire life react if you said you didn’t remember them?  They’d think you were mocking or making a joke.  When I saw how much the book was on Amazon, it was an easy purchase.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Daemoniac
Series Title: A Dominion Mystery
Author: Kat Ross
Date Added: October 13, 2016
Date Purchased: July 3, 2017

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

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