Dweller by Jeff Strand

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Started: August 23, 2017
Date Finished: August 31, 2017
Reading Duration: 8 days
Genre: Fantasy, Horror

Pages: 292
Publication Date: April 1, 2010
Publisher: Leisure Books
Media: 
eBook/Kindle


When Toby Floren was eight years old, he discovered a monster living in the woods behind his house. A ghastly, frightening creature with claws, fangs, and a taste for human flesh. As he ran out of the forest, Toby felt that he’d been lucky to escape with his life.

Years later, Toby finds comfort with the creature. It’s his own special secret–something that nobody else in the world knows about. Somebody to talk to. Somebody to confide in. Sure, Toby has concerns about his own sanity, but really, what boy wouldn’t want to be best friends with a monster in the woods, especially if he’s being tormented by bullies? The creature, who he names Owen, may be the answer to his problems…

From Jeff Strand, the author of PRESSURE, comes the story of a macabre, decades-long friendship. A relationship that will last their entire lives, through times of happiness, tragedy, love, loss, madness, and complete darkness.


I almost gave up on this one (even though it’s pretty much like Harry and the Hendersons…if Harry was a flesh-eating monster).  There was a lot of bullshit victim blaming and bullying that was played off as “just the way it is” or “boys will be boys.” *gag*  One of the greatest follies is the deep set idea that if you’re being bullied, you need to handle it yourself.  It’s a core tenet of many 80’s and 90’s movies.  I mean, there’s literally a series called Revenge of the Nerds (which has more problems than just this concept) where reciprocity is the name of the game.  It cultivates an almost hazing culture where children are expected to “take their lumps” because of the falsehood that it “makes you a better person” (whatever the fuck that means), but the fact of the matter is, it’s okay to go to an adult if you’re dealing with that.  That’s literally their (or I suppose our) job: to aid and educate the younger generation.  So this idea:

But there was a code of honor at Orange Leaf High: you didn’t rat out your peers.

is horse shit.  There’s no honor in it, BUT given the era this story occurs in (the 80’s/90’s), it’s an understandable sentiment.  Once I put myself in that place,  the vibe of the writing began to resonate with me, and I realized a great deal of my reluctance had to do with being able to identify with the bullying Toby endured far too well.

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Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Reader: 9/6/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/30/17          The State of the Reader: 9/13/17–>

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 Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima: Kept – I remember picking this up in the bookstore on one of my many trips there.  It was a bit pricey (over $10), so I didn’t just purchase it, but it was interesting enough for an add, and any story that has a secret and evil amulet is usually good enough to hold my interest.
  2. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket: Kept – Despite not liking the movie with Jim Carey as the villain (and I haven’t yet seen the Netflix show), I like the charm and laissez-faire voice of the book.
  3. The Grim Company by Luke Scull: Kept – I’m kind of blanking on the samples I read this week.  I remember I liked this enough (and it was inexpensive enough) to buy it, and from reading the blurb I can see why.  I’m fond of stories where the heroes aren’t shy about killing if necessary, and a world that suffers for the pettiness of the gods in their eternal warring always makes for a rousing tale.
  4. Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke: Kept – Though this is a classic by a renown sci-fi author, I wasn’t immediately intrigued by the beginning, but the premise of humans being a “child” race forced to grow up is something I’ll utilize my library for.
  5. The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyne Keene: Kept – The first book in the Nancy Drew series…drew me to it not the least for nostalgia’s sake alone.  While it shows its age plainly before the end of the first page, this in now way dissuades me from adding it to my (growing) library list.
  6. Coal by Constance Burris: Kept – I knew I was going to keep this, because I’m pretty sure the main character is a Black kid, and while fiction/fantasy is definitely getting a lot better, it still needs support.  The fact that the book was literally free meant I have yet another novel in my Kindle collection.
  7. The Field Guide by Holly Black: Kept – This was one of the rare samples that never reached the sample text.  It ended right after the table of context.  I put it on my library shelf.  It’s the first book in The Spiderwick Chronicles.
  8. The Survivors by Nick Farmer: Kept – It reminded me of The Last of Us a little bit, but with more “immune” infected I suppose.
  9. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld: Kept – I believe an IRL friend said she would lend me this book/series.  It’s an interesting concept, literally receiving prettiness at the age of 16 like a driver’s license, and there’s quite a bit of social commentary that can be made about such a a thing.
  10. Red Harvest by Joe Schreiber: Kept – A Star Wars novel.  Why the hell not?
  11. Out of the Silent Planet by C. S. Lewis: Kept – I never knew Lewis even wrote sci-fi until a certain bookish Mage told me so.  I’m sure I can procure a copy from my local library.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: The Grim Company
Series Title: The Grim Company
Author: Luke Scull
Date Added: April 18, 2017
Date Purchased: September 1, 2017

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

Title: Coal
Series Title: Everleaf
Author: Constance Burris
Date Added: April 23, 2017
Date Purchased: September 2, 2017

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

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The State of the Writer: 9/3/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/27/17          The State of the Writer: 9/10/17–>

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: 263,453
Prior Word Count: 263,770
Word Difference: -317
Status: Editing
Progress: First edit of Chapter 11

One good thing about editing a letter chapter is I don’t have to think too hard about what I’m going to use for a weekly picture, and I have some decent candidates for the chapter image.  Editing is going slow on this one, but I’m hoping it picks up the next couple weeks since I’m officially on vacation.  I’d like to finish the first edit by the end of the week, incorporate any additional notes, and hopefully get the final edits out of the way.

Quote: I could shut my eyes and read the pain that flows beneath his skin.  The memory there is deeper than shadows and more hidden than a tear in the sea, but I can see it sometimes in his face when he sheds the mask for me. 


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I added three more books to my editing backlog while posting the review for Saga: Volume 7 yesterday.  One of the recently added was just DNF’d today.

  1. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  2. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  3. Popular Tales from Norse Mythology by George Webbe Dasent (DNF)

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The State of the Reader: 8/30/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/23/17          The State of the Reader: 9/6/17–>

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. Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison: Passed – Urban fantasy has to work really hard to get my attention, and this doesn’t do it. Way too many UF clichés for my taste. I know Kim Harrison is pretty popular and has other books/series, so I’ll try some of her other stuff before writing her off (yes, I suppose that was a writer pun).
  2. The Spirit Within by Sheila Renee Parker: Passed – It didn’t hold my interest despite its Final Fantasy-esque name, though to be fair, that was not a good movie.  It (the novel) is about domestic abuse and withstanding that, which I’m fine with as a narrative, but I don’t think there’s enough of a fantasy element for my tastes..
  3. First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: Kept – Witty and wonderful writing, and the beginning saw the main character in a situation hilariously dire, awkward, and strange.
  4. Hounded by Kevin Hearne: Kept (RWTR) – 21 centuries old, hot, Irish shapeshifter with a magic/holy sword.  Yes please.
  5. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray: Kept – As grim of an opening as First Grave on the Right was humorous.  The main character Noemi knows she’s going to die in three weeks (20 days), and she wants her death and therefore life to have some purpose.
  6. Planetfall by Emma Newman: Kept – Opening with something I can fully relate to is a good way to start a story, and I was already drawn in by what the blurb itself promised.
  7. Eating Robots: And Other Stories by Stephen Oram: Kept – Kept and purchased for a low price.  It’s a collection of short sci-fi stories recommended by a fellow blogger.
  8. Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede: Kept (RWTR) – This was recommended by none other than Hungrygoriya herself.  It took me a while to get to the sample, but I loved it.  I’ve read a lot of unconventional princess stories, but when done right, they never cease to delight.
  9. Blood Rose by Danielle Rose: Kept – It’s good enough to borrow from the library.  There’s an ancestral war between witches and vampires.  That’s a new one for me.
  10. Mother Night by Kurt Vonnegut: Kept – I’m definitely interesting and probably would’ve kept this even without the sample.  It’ll more than likely be put on my library list, which I may actually make on the library’s site.
  11. Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury: Kept – Same as Vonnegut above.  I want to get more into science fiction and the science fiction greats.
  12. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley: Kept – Wibbley wobbly timey wimey!  I’m usually pretty good for any story that features well done time travel.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Master of Crows
Series Title: Master of Crows
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 12, 2016
Date Purchased: August 26, 2017

Master of Crows

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $3.99
Retailer: Amazon


Title: Eating Robots: And Other Stories
Author: Stephen Oram
Date Added: April 10, 2017
Date Purchased: August 27, 2017

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

Total Price: $6.98
Average Price: $3.49


Books DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Metaphysical Detective
Series Title: Riga Hayworth
Author: Kirsten Weiss
Date Added: October 22, 2016
Date Started: August 20, 2017
Date DNF: August 27, 2017
Reading Duration: 7 days

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage Read: 20%

The premise is interesting, a widow potentially murdered by her dead husband, but none of the characters really intrigued me, and I’m not interested enough in the mystery to get past that.


Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Started: July 2, 2017
Date Finished: August 25, 2017
Reading Duration: 54 days

Media: Paperback

I have so much to say about this book.  On one hand is was a marvelous venture and exploration into the literal stuff that makes us us, but on the other I have fairly egregious critiques.  I’m not even sure how I’m going to rate this.  The information presented and the insights it gave are invaluable, and the amount of notes I have on the subject show that, but I can’t divest them from the biases of the source.  By the time I get around to reviewing this (and it’s at the end of a 20 book list at this point), I’m sure I’ll have had plenty of time to ruminate upon it.  Suffice it to say I do recommend this volume for anyone interested in the mysteries of consciousness, and by some lucky coincidence I happened to read this around the same time I was watching SOMA.

Title: The Archived
Series Title: The Archived
Author: Victoria Schwab
Date Added: July 12, 2016
Date Started: July 11, 2017
Date Finished: August 29, 2017
Reading Duration: 49 days

Media: Hardback/Library

This book was an absolute delight to read in terms of Ms. Schwab’s prose.  I had very little problems with any of the plot (save for some annoyance at one of Mackenzie’s foolish, yet understandable, decisions).  I was surprised that the love triangle produced two likable candidates, though one was obviously a bad choice, and I was playfully irritated at one of the villains, because (for me) it was just too expected.


Books Currently Reading: 7

Title: The City of Ember
Series Title: The Book of Ember
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
Date Added: June 28, 2016
Date Started: August 30, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle (Library)
Progress: 8%

What a time to be alive!  I borrowed this from the library through Amazon Kindle.  I have it for 21 days (hopefully I can renew if necessary), and this means I don’t have to make a trip to the library in order to borrow books.  It’s a fantastic resource that will help people who have mobility, transportation, and/or any other issue that makes it difficult for them to be out and about.  This is why I love technology.  It can be a wonderful tool to provide ways and means for the entire population.

So far, I’m really liking this novel.  I just started it right before I left work, and it’s the perfect example of when a prologue is valid.  Ember’s mysterious builders needed the citizens to stay in the city for at least 200 years, but they provided a box on a timer that would open up on the appropriate date with instructions therein.  Each mayor had instructions about the box, and they were supposed to pass it on to their successor, but as things can often go, the information was lost and the box forgotten.  Now Ember is in trouble.  Food is growing scarce and famine is imminent.  The electricity is unstable, and if it goes out, the city will be left in utter darkness.  It’s been 241 years, 41 since the box has been open, and time is running out.

Title: Abstract Clarity
Author: B. W. Ginsburg
Date Added: June 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 25%

This is a series of short stories by the blogger friend who also wrote Rest in Piece.  I’ve read two stories so far and the premise of each was very interesting.  Because we’re in email communication, I’m probably going to send her one with my critiques before posting anything on Goodreads or Amazon.

Title: Chobits, Vol. 1
Series Title: Chobits
Author: CLAMP
Translator: Shirley Kubo
Date Added: August 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017

Media: Physical/Paperback
Progress: 17%

So far I haven’t gotten beyond what I saw with the anime yet, but I do remember how messed up this story was haha.  Where Chi’s “on” switch is located is quite…interesting *headdesk*  This was clearly written for a particular demographic, but I’m not giving up hope yet :p

Title: Popular Tales from Norse Mythology
Author: George Webbe Dasent
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: August 27, 2017

Media: Physical/Paperback
Progress: 5%

As much as I love Norse Mythology, the writing in this is really dry.  It’s less of a story and more of a stating of information.  I’ve only read “The Story of Gram” so far, but I’m hoping the next ones are more prosaic, else this might end up in my DNF pile.  If it does, I’ll just pick up The Prose Edda, and call it a day.

Title: Strange the Dreamer
Series Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Started: August 26, 2017

Media: Physical/Hardback
Progress: 11%

I can’t imagine a world where this book isn’t going to receive five stars.  I love when authors hide cleverness in simplicity, and the title does just that.  Double entendres are one of my loves (I use them myself all the time), and I’m happy I figured out the one in the title before it was blatantly revealed in the text.  It’s both describing the Dreamer as “strange” in a poetic way, and it’s also giving the main character’s name and title/description as (Lazlo) Strange, the Dreamer.  It’s so simple, but so clever.  Also, I thought I’d already picked my Book of the Year for 2017, but I may have been wrong.  I love everything about this novel, and the more I read, the more I adore it.

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

Media: eBook/Kindle
Percentage: 73%

I actually was close to declaring this DNF, because the writing seemed a bit too juvenile for me, but I realize it perfectly fit the character, and it “grew” as he did.  This is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read.  We’ve all heard of monster stories, but stories where the protagonist not only befriends, but is best friends with the monster is something new to me.  Some really fucked up stuff happens in this book, yet you can’t help but sympathize with Toby and understand how in his loneliness he found a friend in the creature he named Owen.

I thought I figured out how this novel would end, but I now have no idea, and I love that: when an author makes you constantly reassess where you think a story is going.  I’m about three-quarters done, and the stakes could not be higher.

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

Media: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 55%

I haven’t reached the problematic part of this play yet (problematic in that it doesn’t fit into Shakespeare’s four categories of comedy, tragedy, history, or romance).  I’m quite invested in the story and am happy I’m adept enough at Shakespearean English to have little trouble comprehending it.


Books Removed from Goodreads TBR List This Week: 1

Title: Magicians of the God: The Forgotten Wisdom of Earth’s Lost Civilizations
Author: Graham Hancock
Date Added: August 22, 2017
Date Removed: August 24, 2017

Yes, this is a new section.  I’ve removed quite a few books from my TBR list that I haven’t mentioned, and I figured I ought to.  After talking with my mythology/theology/symbology expert friend, she more than agreed with my trepidation and misgivings about this volume and told me it wasn’t worth my time even for the symbolism aspect.  She’d heard of the author who was, as I’d put it, a “History Channel aliens” type.  This conversation cropped up, because I specifically asked her for recommended reading on Venusian symbolism and wound up disclosing this addition.  She’s the one who gave me the recommendations on the first two books added to my TBR list below.  So though I removed one; I added two.  No luck in clearing or even cutting down my list I suppose.


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Lost Goddesses of Early Greece: A Collection of Pre-Hellenic Myths
Author: Charlene Spretnak
Date Added: August 24, 2017
Recommended By: Other

What the hell is this “other” recommendation, you ask?  Well, this and the book below it were suggested to me by an old, high school friend who doesn’t have a blog.  I didn’t want to put “N/A,” because that wouldn’t be true, but I guess I don’t see the point in putting a name if there’s no blog or site to link it to.

Title: Ancient Mirrors of Womanhood: A Treasury of Goddess and Heroine Lore from Around the World
Author: Merlin Stone
Illustrator: Cynthia Stone
Date Added: August 24, 2017
Recommended By: Other

I keep meaning to renew my Barnes and Noble membership card; its only $25 to do so, but I keep forgetting.  I desperately need to do another book run, because I have no graphic novels and I’m running out of (interesting) references to read.  Another recommendation by my erudite friend.  The knowledge of the ancients shall be mine mwahahaha.

Title: The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Date Added: August 25, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

I swore I already had this on my list.  One of my blogger friends posted about it, and I commented such on their page, but then when I looked to verify, I found I inadvertently spoke falsehood.  Since I don’t recall whose page I last saw it on, I can’t add a proper “Recommended By,” and, well, since it wasn’t technically recommended to me by them, but rather reminded to me by them, it wouldn’t be quite accurate anyway, would it?

A fate and the universe story.  I’m looking forward to seeing what all the hubbub is about.

Title: Unraveling Oliver
Author: Liz Nugent
Date Added: August 26, 2017
Recommended By: By Hook or By Book

Dark and psychological with a 5 star review from someone I trust is all that’s needed for me to add a novel.  The first line (or the line Kim used) still stays with me “I expected more of a reaction the first time I hit her.”  It’s terrifying and dangerous to plunge into the heart of darkness, because what you may find may shatter the light rather than be illuminated by it.

Title: Chobits, Vol. 1
Series Title: Chobits
Author: CLAMP
Date Added: August 27, 2017
Recommended By: N/A

This was a lapse on my part.  I’ve owned this book for years, but I must have missed it when I went through my bookshelf.  This is pretty perfect though, as I needed a graphic novel to read.  I’ve only seen parts of the anime, so it’ll be nice to find out the rest or at least more of the story.

Title: Ubik
Author: Philip K. Dick
Date Added: August 29, 2017
Recommended By: Professional Moron

More existential horror for TSN!  I must be a glutton for punishment or perhaps I’m just willing to suffer for my art, which (still) seems to be the fashion.  Since I want to write cosmic and existential horror, it’s crucial I read it.  This is considered one of the 100 greatest novels since 1923.  Let’s see if it holds up to the test of (almost) a century.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 489
Change from Last Week: -2


Books Added to Reread List This Week: 1

Title: The Name of the Wind
Series Title: The Kingkiller Chronicle
Author: Patrick Rothfus
Date Added: August 28, 2017

Not only have I read this before, but I’ve reviewed it, too.  Damn my supervisor/coworker for reminding me about it lol.  He came back from vacation and around Monday at 4:00 or so asked me if I’d read this and why the hell hadn’t the author finished the third yet.  That started a conversation about Rothfuss and Martin, because they both published their last book in 2011, and nary a publishing peep has been heard from them since.  I said I should reread this, because it’s almost as epic of a series as ASOIAF.

Total Books on Goodreads To Reread List: 69
Change from Last Week: +1


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

I have this scheduled to read on Mondays, but I don’t think I got to it before I played Mario Kart with one of my Twitter friends.  I think I need to change the day I read it or add another day of the week (if possible).  I still have a lot of chapters to get through.  Maybe I’ll be able to catch up on vacation.


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: 8/23/17          The State of the Reader: 9/6/17–>

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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

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 2/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/8/17          The State of the Reader: 2/22/17–>

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.

DNF This Week: 1

Title: Vassa in the Night
Author: Sarah Porter
Date Added: October 15, 2016
Date Started: January 25, 2017
DNF Date: February 8, 2017

Media: Hardback
DNF Progress: 20%

I think the moment I say I’m probably going to declare something DNF is the moment I’ve decided it’s going to happen.  It wasn’t what I expected, which isn’t always a bad thing…but it was in this case because this novel was not only urban fantasy, but young adult, the two (sub) genres I have the most trouble with.

I actually wrote the review for it last weekend, but I need to proofread it before I post.  I manage to go off on a tangent that includes both Shakespeare and FFVII, which considering that I’m a writer and an FFVII fanatic, is not that farfetched.


Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: Dolor and Shadow
Series Title: Tales of the Drui
Author: Angela B. Chrysler
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Dolor and Shadow

Media: Kindle
Price: $2.99

Every time I look at the title of this book, the words “Saevam iram, iram et dolorum…” run through my head like the merciless earworm they are.  Bonus points if you know where those words are from.

Title: Urchin of the Riding Stars
Series Title: The Mistmantle Chronicles
Author: Margaret McAllister
Date Added: May 17, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Urchin of the Riding Stars

Media: Hardcover
Price: $0.01

When I find books on my TBR list for less than $1.00, I’m quick to scoop them up.  This looks like a re-purposed library book; I don’t know yet, since I just ordered it from Amazon this weekend, and it’s going to take a few weeks to get to me.  This one and the one below were recommended due to my love of Redwall (and looking at the covers, it’s plain to see why).  Even if I don’t like either of them, I paid more for the shipping than for the books, and I’ve wasted $5.00 on worse things.

Title: The Dark Portal
Series Title:The Deptford Mice
Author:Robin Jarvis
Date Added:May 13, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Dark Portal, The

Media: Hardcover
Price: $0.01

Title: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Series Title: The Vampire Chronicles
Author: Anne Rice
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Purchased: February 12, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99

This is one of those rare books that I bought before I added, and I had to put all the information into this post while trying not to read the blurb, because I haven’t finished the prior book Prince Lestat.  I started it over a year ago, but I think my designated reading time for it was before jazzercise.  Since I haven’t been there in more than a year, and since I didn’t start scheduling my reading time until after I put it aside, I never got through the novel.  It’s not a DNF though.  I full intend to finish it.

The reason I purchased the sequel was due to a tweet by Anne Rice herself, informing her followers that the book was only $0.99 on Amazon.  Like I said above in regards to Mistmantle and The Deptford Mice, I won’t pass up a buy on any book on my list if it’s under $1.00.  That would just be silly.

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Purchased: February 15, 2017

I made a promise to fellow blogger Inkbiotic that I would purchase her book after receiving my next paycheck, and I’ve gladly kept that vow.  If the samplings she’s so graciously posted on her blog are any indication, I’m going to enjoy this greatly.  It’s magical realism with a same sex relationship.  Yes and yes.


Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 10%

Since I declared Vassa in the Night DNF, it was necessary for me to pick another physical book to read the next time Vassa came up in my reading rotation (I’ll have to tell you all about that some time…).  I actually wasn’t entirely set on what to choose next, so I decided to read the first page in a few of the books in my pile and see what caught my fancy.

Prospero Lost was one of those books I judged by its title and cover first (so you see I wasn’t lying in my Rapid Fire Book Tag post), and I judged it well.  I don’t just buy books based on that though (I’ve been burned quite a few times before), but the blurb sparked by interest even more.  An ancient and immortal, magical family in the modern era who own a company that strives to do good in the world.  It was a tidy bit different from most mega-corporations in sci-fi and fantasy (and science fantasy), and since I have writing ideas for something similar, reading this book would also be a good learning experience.  The writing is good, and the plot coupons thus far presented are intriguing.

Then I came to this paragraph:

“I sat at a wrought-iron table next to the fountain, stirring my tea.  My hair, so pale as to appear silver, was piled atop my head in a Grecian style that had gone out of vogue more than a century ago.  My garment, a tea gown with a high lacy collar — the enchanted satin of which matched the emerald of my eyes…”

All I needed.

Title: The Missing Orchid
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: February 2, 2017
Date Started: February 8, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 36%

I’m really hoping this case turns out differently from Beth’s others.  She’s investigated missing persons before, but they usually end up dead.  It’s not that every story needs a happy ending, but I really hope this one ends in a happy reunion :\

Title: The Illustrated A Brief History of Time/The Universe in a Nutshell
Author: Stephen Hawking
Date Added: June 25, 2016
Date Started: January 2, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 27%

I just finished the chapter about black holes, and the next chapter proclaims that black holes aren’t actually black.  Astrophysics is amazing.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 48%

I’m tearing through this just as quickly as I ripped through the first.  Somehow Ms. Stiefvater managed to make a drug laden, dangerous teenage party with Molotov cocktails in a field seem poetic #talent

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 63%

One of the many things I find interesting about this compendium is how it will return to prior characters that were main ones in another branch and have them be side characters or even antagonists.  Since the fourth branch focuses on Gwydion and his brother Gilvaethwy, it’s from their point of view, and prior characters could be in positions set against them.

It’s also fascinating to note that the Old Tribes don’t really have a sense of fatherhood, but the New Tribes do.  The New have also introduced the idea of marriage, which many of the Old are quite against for good reason.  This fatherhood conundrum is a concept that I’ve read in both fiction/fantasy and historic or rather prehistoric fiction before.  You have to leave your presentism behind and remember that science and technology have not always been on the same level.  Women’s bodies were (and still remain in many cases much to my annoyance) a complete mystery.  No one really understood how conception occurred and sex was seen as merely pleasure or relief.  The connection between it and babies wasn’t a necessary fact, which meant that the idea of fatherhood was tenuous at best.  Even when it was mentioned, many scoffed at it since women aren’t impregnated by each sexual encounter, though Gwydion does note that if a cow is put into a field alone or only with other cows, she remains barren; however, if you add a bull, she’ll become pregnant.  Unfortunately, human pride stymies this comparison due to the idea of special creation (which I think is bunk) and not wanting to be compared to the beasts of the field.  Even in the present, this idea persists, which puts a damper on a great deal of progress and progressive thought.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 10%

What the hell is this? you ask.  Well an author friend of mine from high school whom I keep in touch with through the book of faces honored me the other day by asking me to beta read one of his novels.  I gladly accepted and figured out how to work it into the rotation.  He sent it as a PDF so I’m reading it on my Kindle during my lunch break along with the other two Kindle books.  He asked if I could have it finished by late February/early March, and I don’t think that will be a problem.

Obviously due to it being an unpublished novel, I can’t tell you anything about it or rather I’m erring on the side of discretion.  I’ll post my progress on it, just because it’s better for me to do so, since I’m more likely to make progress on reading, but alas, I shall have to keep details about the book hush hush until it’s published.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 1

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

She updated this week! I haven’t had a chance to read the next chapter yet.  I’m hoping this weekend will allow it.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Komarr
Series Title: Vorkosigan Saga
Author: Lois Bujold McMaster
Date Added: February 13, 2017

I replied to a comment on a body positivity site about bullying, and another commenter replied to me recommending this book.  Though the blurb appears to be in Swedish, Goodreads insists the book is in English, and though it’s the 11th book of the series, I was informed this would be one I’d want to read.  The main character deals with bullying from all sources (family and schoolmates), which is something I grew up with, and like the MC, I was told to “ignore it and it’ll go away,” which is absolute bullshit.  I thanked the purveyor of the comment and added this to my TBR list.

Title: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Series Title: The Vampire Chronicles
Author: Anne Rice
Date Added: February 13, 2017

I talked about this above in the Purchased This Week section.

Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Date Added: February 13, 2017

Thank you to The Writing Hufflepuff for throwing this into my sphere!  Apparently, it will rip my heart out.  I am so not ready D:

It’s about conjoined twin sisters Tippi and Grace who are perfectly happy being two in one, but then something happens that forces them to make the choice they’ve always been avoiding, and I already have a feeling I know what’s going to happen…

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

My Rapid Fire Book Tag (which I’ve already linked above) incited others to join in the fun, which is what such tags are about!  But there is a selfish side to the book tag phenomenon mwa ha ha, and that’s the fact that I find out about more new books to add to my ever growing TBR list.  Wait…this may not be so advantageous after all noooooo.  Hehe, truly, while I’ll never have time to finish them all, I’d hate to miss something I may very well love, and Ignited Moth almost casually mentioned this interesting horror gem (horror gem?  Horror gem?) in the Underrated Book section of the tag.

We’ve all heard stories about monsters in the forest and bogeymen in the woods.  They’re usually the Big Bad of any tale, and initially the main character Toby is terrified when he sees the creature in question, but the next time he encounters it, he’s lonely, unhappy teenager bereft of friends and overburdened with bullies.  The hungry creature provided a solution to both.  I just put this on my “Really Want To Read” list.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 554
Change from Last Week: +3


Books Added to Goodreads To Be Reread 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: 2/8/17          The State of the Reader: 2/22/17–>

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