The State of the Reader: 9/22/21

<–The State of the Reader: 9/8/21         The State of the Reader: 10/6/21–>

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: 4

Total: $14.96


Books Finished: 0


Books DNF: 1

Title: Something from the Nightside
Series: Nightside
Author: Simon R. Green
Date Added: July 1, 2017
Date Started: August 27, 2021

Cover of Soomething from the Nightside by Simon R. GreenMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 48%

I DNF’d it the day after I posted my last SOTR.  It was the cliched “two women characters who obviously hate each other” that did it for me (which makes me look like a hypocritical asshole, but it’s why I’m planning a major overhaul of my first novel so…).  It’s such a problematic trope on so many levels and was just the icing on the tombstone for this book.  I did check the reviews before I made my official decision and found a lot of my own critiques there.  I’m at the point now where if a piece of media does not spark joy, I’m not spending more time on it.


Currently Reading

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The State of the Reader: 7/14/21

<–The State of the Reader: 6/30/21         The State of the Reader: 7/28/21–>

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: $12.88


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Magnum Opus: Seek and You Shall Find
Authors: Christopher & Christine Kezelos
Date Added: October 7, 2020
Date Started: July 1, 2021
Date DNF: July 14, 2021

Cover of The Magnum Opus: Seek and You Shall Find by Christopher & Christine KezelosMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress at DNF: 43%

I had such high hopes for this after watching the charming (if a little creepy) short film (thank you By Hook or By Book for featuring this on your Whimsical Wednesday post!).  The novel promised to expand upon the story and show what happened after the making was done and the original Maker disappeared into glitter.  Initially, I was intrigued if saddened by the turn of events, but still interested even though where the plot was going was blatantly clear.  I almost shelved it a few times before, but things kept happening to hold my interest for a little longer, but I have to be honest: the novel direly needs a good editor.  There were not only the little errors e.g. missing commas in dialogue tags and misspellings, but the chapter would just switch perpsectives without a break, and I mean characters that were in completely different places.

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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 Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg (The Paper Magician #1) (DNF)

Title: The Paper Magician
Series: The Paper Magician
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Date Added: June 17, 2016
Date Started: August 9, 2018
Date DNF: August 9, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA)

Cover of The Paper Magician by Charlie N. HolmbergPages: 222
Publication Date: September 1, 2014
Publisher: 47North
Media: eBook/Kindle


Ceony Twill arrives at the cottage of Magician Emery Thane with a broken heart. Having graduated at the top of her class from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, Ceony is assigned an apprenticeship in paper magic despite her dreams of bespelling metal. And once she’s bonded to paper, that will be her only magic… forever.

Yet the spells Ceony learns under the strange yet kind Thane turn out to be more marvelous than she could have ever imagined — animating paper creatures, bringing stories to life via ghostly images, even reading fortunes. But as she discovers these wonders, Ceony also learns of the extraordinary dangers of forbidden magic.

An Excisioner — a practitioner of dark, flesh magic — invades the cottage and rips Thane’s heart from his chest. To save her teacher’s life, Ceony must face the evil magician and embark on an unbelievable adventure that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart—and reveal the very soul of the man.


I wished I’d just passed on this based on sample, but I don’t think I read enough to make the correct call.  The beginning is intriguing enough to draw you in, but as I went along the first chapter, I didn’t get much from the MC Ceony except that she’s a good student who wanted to work with metal instead of the paper craft foisted upon her.  Usually students can choose their material, but because Folding is dying out, she was assigned to that.  It’s a pretty common set up for a narrative, and while I did wonder how Holmberg might bend this ubiquitous motif in a unique way, it just didn’t hold my interest, and after rereading the blurb, I felt less of a draw to find out.

I’m not counting the author out though.  I do like her style, and I have Smoke and Summons from her Numina series on my list.

The Shadow Soul by Kaitlyn Davis (A Dance of Dragons #1) (DNF)

Title: The Shadow Soul
Series Title: A Dance of Dragons
Author: Kaitlyn Davis
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: May 14, 2018
Date DNF: May 15, 2018
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult (YA), Paranormal

The Shadow Soul coverPages: 292
Publication Date: January 22, 2014
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle


When Jinji’s home is destroyed, she is left with nowhere to run and no one to run to–until she meets Rhen, a prince chasing rumors that foreign enemies have landed on his shores. Masquerading as a boy, Jinji joins Rhen with vengeance in her heart. But traveling together doesn’t mean trusting one another, and both are keeping a deep secret–magic. Jinji can weave the elements to create master illusions and Rhen can pull burning flames into his flesh.

But while they struggle to hide the truth, a shadow lurks in the night. An ancient evil has reawakened, and unbeknownst to them, these two unlikely companions hold the key to its defeat. Because their meeting was not coincidence–it was fate. And their story has played out before, in a long forgotten time, an age of myth that is about to be reborn…


This is one of those books that initially seems like I’d tear through with alacrity based on the blurb, but I was extremely meh about the opening.  It’s your typical destroyed people/vengeance fare, but I didn’t garner much deep emotion from it because I didn’t invest much in the characters due to that cataclysm being present in the blurb.  Even so I liked what the author was setting up with Jinji’s story arc, an indigenous young woman whose home and culture is destroyed.  I was here for that revenge story, but then…the male character is introduced.

Rhen is unlikable for a variety of reasons.  He’s arrogant as fuck with an unearned know-it-all attitude.  Davis tells us how smart he is through his own ruminations, which may be her way of disputing it, but it just comes off as pompous.  I could forgive this slight, but I was pretty much done when he revealed he might be an unabashed rapist per the very act that introduces him.

He did however feel slightly uneasy.  It really wasn’t the girl’s fault that he had slipped into her room just before dawn.

I won’t say it’s blatant, but it gave me an icky feeling.  Pairing that with a lukewarm beginning sealed the deal.  If Rhen had been interesting or reputable, I might have continued, but I had no interest in seeing a fairly decent character like Jinji paired with what can’t even be considered a mediocre man.  Maybe he matures; maybe she “fixes” him (ugh), but she deserves better.

The State of the Gamer: 4/23/19

<–The State of the Gamer: 4/9/19           The State of the Gamer: 4/23/19–>

A weekly post updated every other Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a site you can use to keep track of your backlog, so please feel free to friend me there!

What I Obtained

  • Pic-a-Pix Deluxe – $7.99 @ Nintendo eShop

What I DNFed

Title: Doki Doki Literature Club
System: PC

Doki Doki Literature Club coverDate Started: 3/17/19
Date DNF: 4/16/19

So…I “finished” the game insofar as a major event happened and the game “ends.”  Left there befuddled, I restarted, and NOPED right out of there quicker than a photon.  Oh HELL no.  What happens is one of my biggest fear triggers, and I do not fuck with that.  I wound up watching a breakdown by The Game Theorists, and I’m glad I chose to DNF because I wouldn’t be able to use my computer ever again, and how would I do these fascinating posts if I don’t have my lappy?  Let’s just say if you’re into horror/meta-horror narratives DDLC will not disappoint.

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All’s Well That End’s Well by William Shakespeare (DNF)

Title: All’s Well That End’s Well
Author: William Shakespeare
Date Added: September 15, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2018
Date DNF: March 3, 2018
Genre: Play, Classic, Drama

All's Well That End's Well coverPages: 336
Publication Date: 1602
Publisher: Latus ePublishing
Media: eBook/Kindle


Helena, a ward of the Countess of Rousillion, falls in love with the Countess’s son, Bertram. Daughter of a famous doctor, and a skilled physician in her own right, Helena cures the King of France-who feared he was dying-and he grants her Bertram’s hand as a reward. Bertram, however, offended by the inequality of the marriage, sets off for war, swearing he will not live with his wife until she can present him with a son, and with his own ring-two tasks which he believes impossible. However with the aid of a bed trick, Helena fulfils his tasks, Bertram realises the error of his ways, and they are reconciled.


This was the first play I finished in my goal to read/reread all of the Bard’s plays.  I didn’t finish it because it annoyed me, but apparently I also didn’t review it either, which is odd, since I usually still review literature I DNF.

Bertram, the son of a countess, is a snobbish ass and Helena, the low-born ward of the same countess, could do so much better.  He refuses her marriage offer even after the king of France says he’ll fix any title issues Bertram has with the union, which seems to be the only problem: he doesn’t want to marry below his station.  Helena has fulfilled her promise to the French monarch in healing him, and the king has the power to raise her beyond her “low breeding as a physician’s daughter,” which is (ironically for that judgment) the reason she was able to cure him in the first place!  Granted, at this point in history, doctors weren’t looked up in high regard, so this assessment wasn’t inaccurate.  If this is Bertram’s only reason for not wishing to wed Helena, it’s a poor one at that.  Obviously, no one should be compelled to marry against their will, regardless the cause, and that’s exactly what the king forces Bertram to do.  While he weds her, he doesn’t bed her, instead sending his unwanted bride back to his estate and informing his mother how much he hates her.

Excuse me what the fuck meme with very wiggly, grey guyI became bored with the story at this point and decided to DNF it, but thanks to the internet I know what else happens, and yes, it is twisted.

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The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (The Sandman #1) (DNF)

Title: The Sandman, Vol. 01: Preludes & Nocturnes
Series Title: The Sandman
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Various
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: April 4, 2018
Date DNF: April 15, 2018
Reading Duration: 9 days
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel, Fantasy, Supernatural, Horror, Mythology

The Sandman: Preludes & NocturnesPages: 240
Publisher: Vertigo
Publication Date: 1989
Media: Paperback (Library)


New York Times best-selling author Neil Gaiman’s transcendent series SANDMAN is often hailed as the definitive Vertigo title and one of the finest achievements in graphic storytelling. Gaiman created an unforgettable tale of the forces that exist beyond life and death by weaving ancient mythology, folklore and fairy tales with his own distinct narrative vision.

In PRELUDES & NOCTURNES, an occultist attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. After his 70 year imprisonment and eventual escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On his arduous journey Morpheus encounters Lucifer, John Constantine, and an all-powerful madman.


I’d been wanting to read this for years, and since many of my friends love Neil Gaiman, it’s been recommended to me a number of times.  In theory the graphic novel has everything I love: mythology re-workings, old gods, darkness, horror, death rituals, releasing something ancient and seemingly evil, and sleeping all the time.  You know…my typical Saturday.  I actually couldn’t get into Gaiman’s writing when I first attempted either American Gods or Neverwhere years ago, but I really liked Stardust and absolutely loved The Ocean at the End of the Lanefinding after I read those, I was able to stomach AG more easily.  I think I just needed to get used to his style.  There’s also a novel illustrated by Yoshitaka Amano, who was the concept artist for Final Fantasy.

Sandman illustrated by AmanoI think it was Amano more than anything that encouraged me to seek this series out, and I erroneously believed the artist illustrated the entirety of Sandman.  Had that been the case, I probably would’ve finished not only the first one, but read them all, despite my issues with the narrative.

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The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold (DNF)

Title: The Lovely Bones
Author: Alice Sebold
Date Added: September 23, 2012
Date Started: March 24, 2018
Date DNF: March 24, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Supernatural

The Lovely BonesPages: 328
Publication Date: July 3, 2002
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Media: Paperback


The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.


I bought this to read with the hopes the end of the book wasn’t the same as the ending of the movie, that the filmmakers took some strange liberties and Sebold did write a comeuppance for the piece of shit pedophile-murderer who lured Susie to her assault and death.

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The State of the Reader: 10/10/18

<–The State of the Reader: 9/26/18          The State of the Reader: 10/24/18–>

A weekly 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.

Books Purchased: 6


Books DNF: 1

Title: The Book of the Unnamed Midwife
Series Title: Road to Nowhere
Author: Meg Elison
Date Added: September 22, 2018
Date Started: September 28, 2018
Date DNF: October 3, 2018

The Book of the Unnamed MidwifeI did not DNF this book because it’s poorly written.  I DNFed it because it is too fucking real and I couldn’t handle it.  Meg Elison (whom I didn’t realize I followed on Twitter until I started reading this) has written the most realistic depiction of the world after an apocalyptic pandemic where 98% of the population dies and the ration of men to women is 10:1.  It’s fucking nightmarish if you’re a woman, and yet nothing in either history or current events makes it ring untrue.  It is exactly what would happen and the main character, our unnamed midwife, does everything she can to avoid the horrific fate of other uterus bearers by pretending to be a man, stocking up on weapons, and hiding.  She carries thousands of birth control shots with her to administer to those who can’t escape assault, and it was after a recounting of a horrific childbirth that I knew I had to call it quits.  It was too triggering for me.  So if you’re set off or bothered by that, rape/sexual assault, genital mutilation, suicide, disease, and just general grimdark, this is not the book for you.  It’s an important book that needs to be in the zeitgeist, but no one should potentially harm themselves by reading something potentially damaging.

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