The State of the Reader: 9/13/17

<–The State of the Reader: 9/6/17          The State of the Reader: 9/20/17–>

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 Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey: Kept – Aliens inhabiting babies.  This book is singing my song, though I’m quite surprised.  The movie previews made it look like a Divergent clone with aliens.  I suppose I’ll find out, won’t I?
  2. Angel’s Blood by Nalina Singh: Kept – Angels keeping vampires in thrall.  Now that’s an interesting paradigm.  I have ideas about angels and vampires myself, so reading a book where they interact seems like a good idea.
  3. She Walks in Darkness by Evangeline Walton: Kept – This is by the author of The Mabinogion Tetralogy.  She writes her own fiction/fantasy as well.  I enjoyed how she rendered the Welsh myths, and from the sample, it seems like she has a good hand for telling her own stories.
  4. One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus: Passed – Too much Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars for my taste. I was never into those types of stories.
  5. The Shadow of What Was Lost by James Islington: Kept – Definite Lord of the Rings vibe to it.  I’m not completely drawn from the get-go, but it has that old school fantasy feel, and that’s worth a trip to the library.
  6. Embassytown by China Miéville: Passed – It didn’t grip me.
  7. Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman: Kept – I’m not surprised there’s a book, but I never really did much hunting for it.  According to the friend who put it into my mind to add it, it’s not remotely the same as the movie, but both of them are good.
  8. I Found You by Lisa Jewell: Kept – Unidentified persons always make for interesting novels.
  9. Parasite Eve by Hidaeki Sena: Kept – There wasn’t much question I was going to keep this.  I just wanted to make sure the translation was okay, and it is.  This is the basis for the video game series of the same name, and it’s also pretty clear that FFVII took some ideas from it.


Books Purchased This Week: 0


Books Finished This Week: 3

Title: Chobits, Vol. 1
Series Title: Chobits
Author: CLAMP
Translator: Shirley Kubo
Date Added: August 27, 2017
Date Started: August 28, 2017
Date Finished: September 10, 2017
Reading Duration: 13 days

Media: Physical/Paperback

Despite the flagrant sexism, there’s something both endearing and mysterious about this story.  Where did Chi come from?  Why was she in the trash?  Why is she so drawn to that picture book The City With No People?  What did the book mean by “them?”  It has to have something to do with her origins.  I haven’t quite surpassed where I stopped in the anime, but since manga is cheaper, I’m more than likely to find out through reading 😉

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 5/17/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/10/17          The State of the Reader: 5/24/17–>

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. Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner: Kept (RWTR) – This is a story in the tradition of Redwall, and initially wasn’t sure if I should think of the rats as anthropomorphic or as more like the rabbits of Watership Down, able to speak in their own language, but still quintessentially rabbits.  Since this book opened with a chase, I couldn’t decide whether to imagine them running as rats do or running as humans do.  I think they might have been running as rats, but they wear clothes and have a hidden city beneath Topside (the world of humanity).  The story seems fascinating.  A fascist dictator has taken over their city, terrorizing frightened citizens, but two brothers Vincent and Victor escaped forced impression in the Kill Army, and they eventually team up with another rebel to take back their city.
  2. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.: Passed – I was quite excited for this, but the main character comes off as a chauvinistic ass in rooster form, and the writing isn’t my style.
  3. Talon by Julie Kagawa: Kept/Purchased (RWTR) – Dragons that can take human form, trying to keep out of the sight of St. George with rogue dragons in the world for unknown purpose.  The story drops you right into the lives of twins (which are rare among dragon kind) as they try to adapt to live among humans.
  4. The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway: Kept (RWTR) – Another book that starts out perfectly.  Sam has been dead for four days, but her boyfriend Ethan has figured out a way to call her back from the grave.  The story opens with her clawing her way out of the dirt, but how Ethan did it is still unknown (though he does admit he had help), and Sam is more than just a revived human…she’s not a zombie, not a vampire, but some kind of weird halfway in between that has to feed of of humans to survive.  I’m dying to know where this will take us 😉
  5. Robbed of Sleep by Mercedes Yardley: Passed – I don’t seem to have an affinity for short stories (unless they’re written by GRRM).  There was a brief one page story that was okay, but the second longer one just didn’t do much for me even though I know it could’ve been interesting.  Ah well.
  6. Radiance by Grace Draven: Kept/Purchase (RWTR) – HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK IS AMAZING.  Omg, where do I even begin.  Well, I knew I was going to purchase it not even a chapter in.  So Ildiko is betrothed to marry Brishen, a Kai prince, a humanoid, but not human people.  What the book did was brilliant.  It not only showed the bride’s disgust, fear, and horror at marrying what she considers a monster, but it showed his point of view as well.  To the Kai, humans are just as horrifying, and the way Brishen describes our eyes was just perfect.  The Kai have no iris or pupil, just a blazing yellowy-white orb that’s light sensitive since they’re people of the night.  To them our irises and pupils that contract with the light must be hella creepy, and it really made me think though I’ve obviously thought about eerie eyes before.  Anyway, they wind up meeting by chance just before the wedding, though neither knows whom the other is, and it’s both hilarious and perfect.  They both still find each other odd, but realize their personalities click, though it’s not until the end Brishen finds out her name.  I bought this book immediately, and I can’t wait to read it.  I may have to shuffle some of the order around.
  7.  Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick: Kept – The premise of a world trapped in twilight is interesting.  It reminds me of (the obvious) Twilight Princess and the Dark City, Treno in Final Fantasy IX.  The main character has a fresh, crisp voice with obvious English inflection, and I’m curious about her strange malady.
  8. After the Woods by Kim Savage: Kept (RWTR) – What drew me to this was the insta-action it starts with, and the fact that the catalyst for the story occurs without it being said.  Neither we nor the main character really know what happened, because she’s repressed the memory.  I like that she uses snarky deflection (yes…I can like snarkiness, but it has to be for a purpose and not just for the sake of being snarky), because that’s something I can relate to (I am the deflection queen!).
  9. Ruined by Amy Tintera: Kept (RWTR) – If you’re looking for a book about hatred and vengeance for a worthy reason, look no further than Ruined.  I love the double entendre involved in that titled, because the main character’s lost kingdom is literally called Ruina, and its people are called Ruined.  I want to know why the two allied nations hate them so much, though I think it’s a simple reason of hating/fearing their power.
  10. The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: Kept – Recommended by my studious friend at The Ink Garden, the language in it reminds of the books I loved growing up.  The beginning is a bit winding to the point, but I didn’t mind at all.
  11. The Guardian by Elizabetta Holcomb: Passed – I was teetering on a fine edge with this one.  It didn’t really grab me, but it had really good reviews that praised the characters and the writing.  I didn’t find the latter that compelling; there was a lot of telling instead of showing.  It was only $0.99 on Kindle, which isn’t a lot to spend, but I just couldn’t see myself staying interested in it, so I ultimately decided to pass.
  12. Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams: Passed – It almost feels like blasphemy to pass on this, since it’s by the author of the illustrious and irreverent Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I think I may just not be in the mood for this kind of parody right now.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: Talon
Series Title:
Talon
Author:
Julie Kagawa
Date Added:
May 24, 2016
Date Purchased: May 12, 2017

Talon

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

Continue reading

The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Authors: Anonymous, Evangeline Walton (translator), Betty Ballantine (Introduction)
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016
Date Finished: May 6, 2017
Reading Duration: 281 days
Genre: Mythology/Welsh Mythology/Celtic Mythology/Irish Mythology, Fantasy, Classic

Pages: 720
Publication Date: April 1, 1980
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Chronicles of Prydain, The Raven Cycle

The retelling of the epic Welsh myth that is “certainly among the top 5 fantasy series of the twentieth century” (sfsite.com).

The Mabinogion is to Welsh mythology what the tales of Zeus, Hera, and Apollo are to Greek myth. these tales constitute a powerful work of the imagination, ranking with Tokien’s Lord of the Rings novels and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Evangeline Walton’s compelling rendition of these classic, thrilling stories of magic, betrayal, lost love, and bitter retribution include the encounter between Prince Pwyll and Arawn, the God of Death, which Pwyll survives by agreeing to kill the one man that Death cannot fell, and the tale of bran the blessed and his family’s epic struggle for the throne.

The Mabinogion is internationally recognized as the world’s finest arc of Celtic mythology; Walton’s vivid retelling introduces an ancient world of gods and monsters, heroes, kings and quests, making accessible one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time.


******Warning: Some mentions of rape as it pertains to the narrative.******

I first cut my teeth on Welsh Mythology with The Prydain Chronicles of Lloyd Alexander, books written for children, and rife with the myths of that land.  It was where I first saw the name “Gwydion” and heard the term “Son of Don” and “Math Son of Mathonwy.”  At the time I though Don and Mathonwy were the names of their fathers since lineage now and still flows through the father, but at that point in the history of Wales, the name of the mother was the line of kings.

Prydain did an excellent job of introducing the rich mythological history of Wales, and Mr. Alexander (who is actually from around my area) cited the Mabinogion as one of his sources, but as it was a children’s book, The Chronicles barely scratched the surface of the myths’ depths.  Though I read the series years ago (and haven’t had a chance to reread it again), I remembered the name of the source, and when the opportunity presented, obtained a copy of the volume in question.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 5/10/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/3/17          The State of the Reader: 5/17/17–>

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. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Kept (RWTR) – I’ve had this one on my really want to read list for a while, and the sample only increased my desire for this book.  The language is beautiful, and the sample presented questions I’m dying to know the answers to.  It has both a steam of consciousness and magical realism current to it.  If it wasn’t $9.99 and I didn’t have a ton of books sitting in a pile right in front of me, I’d have bought it this week.
  2. Foundation by Isaac Asimov: Kept (Purchased) – In my drive to read more sci-fi, I of course had to download a sample of one of the founding fathers of the genre.  I was struck by how well paced this book was.  Many of the old school authors don’t have that trait to their credit as it wasn’t deemed as necessary in that era.  Tolkien, who could be considered Asimov’s equivalent in fantasy, certainly took his sweet time in his epics, so much so that many current day readers can’t stomach it.  I had issues with The Hobbit, but fared better with Lord of the Rings.  Afterwards, having a feel for his style, I went back and read the prequel novella.  I had no problem being swept away in Asimov’s world, and since the book was quite inexpensive on Kindle, I decided to make the purchase.
  3. Outcast by Adrienne Kress: Kept – I was skeptical about this one.  I’m very picky when it comes to stories about angels, and I tend not to like stories that are over-stylized and overly modern, attempting to make everything cool and snarky; however, the voice in this is perfect for what’s occurring.  A small, seemingly southern (American) town is literally being plagued by angels.  They come once a year and take people away.  They don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but the first chapter ends with the MC, who’s telling the story, admitting she shot one in the face.  Whether this is the reason she’s dubbed “outcast” is anyone’s guess. It may refer to the angel she shot, or it could very well be a double entendre.  Also the author’s name is “Adrienne.”  I have to give her a chance 😉
  4. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: Kept (Purchased/RWTR) – Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, this book is amazing, intense, and there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to buy it based on how inexpensive it was.  I know about how royal hostages work fairly well from ASOIAF, but this book drives it home.  The narrator lives in an abbey of sorts with her fellow royals.  They are referred to as the Children of Peace, and if their parents break this peace by declaring war, the lives of their respective children are forfeit.  The logic being no one would declare war at the expense of their child but the first chapter shows these things still happen, because when your people don’t have water, and your neighbors aren’t willing to offer aid, you may need to go to war.
  5. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H. P. Lovecraft: Kept (Purchased/RWTR) – HPL loved the Names to Run Away From trope in regards to those that end in -th.  Yog Shoggoth, Kadath, Azathoth are just a few of the monikers so used.  This story immediately captured my attention with the main characters vision of the dream city at sunset, because I often have such visions just not typically three nights in a row.  Since this is Lovecraft, the novel will only end in horror, but I want to see how it gets there, and as I want to write horror myself, this will be a good lesson in how it might unfold.
  6. Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell: Kept (RWTR) – The blurb wasn’t lying about this being a page turner.  It’s not even my preferred genre and I’m still itching to know why the suspect the main character was interviewing all of a sudden changed his entire personality from saying only “Fuck off” and other profanities to speaking in full, eloquent sentences.
  7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: Kept (RWTR) – There’s not much to say about this other than I loved it.  The language, the set up, the mien, the voice.  Everything speaks to a gorgeous, gripping tale.
  8. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey: Kept – This is the first book in an old series, but I never read it in high school, though I’ve known about it since then.  Reading the blurb and sample, I’m wondering if GRRM was inspired by some of the motifs or vice versa.  There’s a “Plague Star” paradigm with the planet that comes around in cycles causing woe to the world at hand, and dragon riders are obviously another thing they share.  It was first published in 1968, and I believe this was around the time Martin was getting his start so it’s entirely possible he was inspired by Ms. McCaffrey.
  9. Geish of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki: Kept (RWTR) – I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden many years ago, never knowing he had essentially stolen the story from her.  Geisha of Gion is written in the teller’s own words, but it is far less popular.  Hopefully, I can help change that.
  10. The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Kept – I have a contentious relationship with Bradley.  I read and loved The Mists of Avalon, which is currently on my to-reread list (which I want to do before I read this), but I heard some incredibly disturbing news about something she did.  I’m not going to talk about it here, but it makes me want to never spend money on one of her books ever again, though I already own Mists and would like to eventually have the entire series.  Hm, upon googling, it looks like Bradley died in 1999, so she wouldn’t receive any payment for any books I buy.  This is still a major dilemma.  If you’re curious, I’ll link the article here.  It’s in a similar vein to what I should do about Lovecraft, though with Bradley, it concerns one person.
  11. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy: Kept (RTWR) – I wasn’t sure what I expected when I read this sample.  I remember bits and pieces of the movie, but I was quite young at the time it came out, and what I do remember, I was too young to fully understand.  The sample is clearly setting the stage for horrific events that leave the narrator broken and his sister psychotic and suicidal.  I could not stop reading it.  It may have to be my next library book, if I don’t pick it up from the bookstore before then.
  12. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper: Kept – I always looked at this book series while growing up, but I never read it.  The title of it always entranced me: The Dark Is Rising.  So much so that I used the phrase in my original novel followed by “and the light must prevail.”  I think I was also planning on making it the name of a bookstore in a story that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet.
  13. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell: Kept (RWTR) – I was honestly shocked at how much I liked this.  When I realized it was time to read this sample, I truly believed it was going to end up in the passed pile since it’s based on the tales of Arthur, and I already have my (problematic) favorite tale of the same.  However, the language and style immediately struck me, and the opening scenes of childbirth were brutal and realistic, as was the clash of the old religion of the druids against newer Christianity.  I’ll have to thank my coworker/supervisor for giving me this recommendation!

Passed: 0
Kept: 13


Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: Foundation
Series Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Date Added: April 16, 2016
Date Purchased: May 5, 2017

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

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Purchased: May 6, 2017

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

Title: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Author: H. P. Lovecraft
Date Added: May 25, 2016
Date Purchased: May 5, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Total: $5.97
Average Price: $1.99


Books Finished This Week: 1

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

Finally…after nearly a year, I’ve finished this book.  Granted the reason it took so long was because I didn’t have a reading system down back then and now I do, but I’m pretty sure this is the longest it’s ever taken me to read a book.  Harry Potter 5 and 6 are near as long, and I finished those in less than two days.  A Clash  of Kings could potentially be longer, and I probably read that in a week.  The Mab read more like a novel then any mythology collection I ever had where each “branch” told a particular story.  I’m happy I read it though.  I greatly enjoyed The Chronicles of Prydain and wanted to have more background on that.  While this was quite a bit different and more elaborate, I could see where some of that story originated.

I’ll be working on a review for this this week.


Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Author: Anonymous
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: May 8, 2017

This book is  prerequisite reading for a ton of my essays (as in I need to read it before I write them), and of course I had to get the one with the northern lights on the cover.  My two favorite stories heavily borrow/reference Norse mythology: Final Fantasy VII and A Song of Ice and Fire, and my second favorite villain, Loki as played by Tom Hiddleston, is from there as well.  The mythos of the Norsemen is arguably my favorite since they have their own version of the Tree of Life or World Tree, Yggdrasil.  The Song reference for it has to do with the bone white weirwoods and specifically the so-called demon tree Ygg, and Martin also has a subversion of one-eyed Odin with Blood Raven the sorcerer.  FFVII has the Tree of Life reference in Sephiroth, a major component of the .Qabalistic Tree of Life.  Once I read this, I’ll have the background knowledge to start working on quite a few of my VII/Song comparative essays.  It’s like I’m back in school again!

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: January 26, 2017
Date Started: May 1, 2017

Media: Hardback (Library)
Progress: 22%

I am almost 100% certain the author is making Tamlin an asshole so that we’re not supposed to like him anymore.  I didn’t like him from the first book to begin with, but my guess is she’s attempting to sway readers who more than likely did to realize what he’s doing to Feyre.  These readers probably weren’t all that fond of Rhysand, though truthfully I had major problems with both of them.  Currently, though, at least Rhys is telling Feyre what’s going on, not keeping her in the dark, and not forcing her to stay in their house all the time.  I really hope the main character dumps the High Lord of the Spring Court not because I particularly want her to be with Rhys, but because Tamlin’s a jackass…which I totally called from the first book :p

Title: The Quantum Ghost
Author: Jonathan Ballagh
Date Added: April 14, 2017
Date Started: April 29, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 48%

All of the (mostly minor) issues I had with The Quantum Door are utterly nonexistent in this second novel.  To be honest, I’m picturing this as a movie, and I hope one day it gets to that point.  Door would make an excellent movie, too.  The action, while not overwhelming, is almost nonstop.

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Others, and Translators
Date Added: October 30, 2016
Date Started: April 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress:  45%

I think after I finish reading this, I’m going to watch all of the Zeldas….in order.  Oh!  I have to remember to look for the Zelda comics Mr. Panda told me about!  I had no idea these existed, and they have one for Twilight Princess o.O  I’ll be hitting the bookstore this Friday!

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Started: April 8, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 61%

It’s amazing how a story can be so cohesive even as it almost seems to consist of vignettes.  You never know what you’re going to get with each chapter, and you never know which character is going to be the focus.  The author even puts the spotlight on seemingly minor characters.  As mentioned before it reminds me a bit of ASOIAF, because we’re presented with one character’s viewpoint and one character’s thoughts.  I have absolutely no idea how this is going to end, but I have been thinking about what it would look like if they did make a TV series of it.

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 88%

I an also honestly say I have no idea how this is going to wrap up.  Initially, I thought it would be a glorious, drug induced, stream of consciousness ride, and while those have been the tools used, Riddled is so much more than that.  It’s about both not conforming and yet questioning whether that state is just another type of conformity.  Wanting more, but not wanting to fall into the malaise of the gaping bystanders and gawking crowds.  This books asks questions I’ve always had, but never knew how to frame.


Fanfictions Finished: 1

Title: Breath Fades with the Light
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

Life gets in the way of everything, so my fellow fanfiction writer friend hasn’t had a chance to update the below (there may even be some writer’s block involved), but she is writing again, little snippets involving the same couple.  I can’t say I’m not appreciative.

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 2

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

No update for this this week.

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Author: AthenaTseta
Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Leilana/Various

I have this on my schedule to read twice a week, but I seem to only be able to manage once 😦  It’s weird because Monday I don’t have anything to post, yet I still never seen to have time.  I think it’s because I check my email on Monday, and I have a bunch of blog subs to get through.  Anyway, Morrigan has joined Alistair and Renya at the “request” of Flemeth, her mother.


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Uglies
Series Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfield
Date Added: May 4, 2017
Recommended by: Athena | AmbiGaming

In a discussion with Athena one on of my posts (don’t ask me to remember which one), we were talking about YA novels, and she mentioned she’d read a bunch at once so was a bit burned out on the genre.  I recommended she not read the final book in the Divergent series, and she recommended I give this one a try.  I’d seen it before, but didn’t add it at that time.  After I did, because my Goodreads is tied to my Facebook, one of my IRL friends saw it and offered to lend me the trilogy.  I might take her up on that.

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Recommended by: Cool Stuff with Chris

Nothing will make me add a reference book faster than telling me it’s about the brain.  My undergraduate was in psychology, and physiological psych was my favorite class.  I loved learning how the areas of the brain connected to certain functions and behaviors.  It’s been quite a few years since I graduated, and I could certainly use a refresher.

Title: Red Harvest
Series Title: Star Wars Legends
Author: Joe Schreiber
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Recommended by: Cool Stuff with Chris

Even though Disney declared any novels “legends” (so no longer canon), I’ve never been one to shy away from what would now be considered fanfiction.  Plus, my recommender said that this has some serious horror motifs, and after reading the blurb, I can confirm this appears to be true.

Title: Out of the Silent Planet
Series Title: Space Trilogy
Author: C. S. Lewis
Date Added: May 8, 2017
Recommended by: The Well-Red Mage

The title to this sounds so familiar that I’m surprised I didn’t know it was by C. S. Lewis.  I’m not that shocked he wrote science fiction since that genre and fantasy are on a continuum.  Anyway, this came well RED-commended (I’m exhausted, and I still found place to pun), and since I’m trying to read more sci-fi, I think one of the most celebrated fantasy authors and theologians is a good place to land.

Title: The 5th Wave
Series Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Date Added: May 9, 2017

The addition of this came about due to a Facebook post I made concerning aliens.  I said something along the lines of how when I was growing up, I had no interest in aliens (in fact, the thought of extraterrestrial beings scared the hell out of me), but now all of my favorite characters are aliens at least in some part.  One of my high school friends who’s also a writer suggested this book to me, but warned that it follows a sadly typical pattern with YA where the first book will be good/decent, then the second one slacks off, and the third isn’t worth your time.  I figure I’ll give the first a sample run and see what I think.  I’d looked at this book/series before, but it didn’t spark my interest then.

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Part 1
Series: Zelda
Author: Akira Himekawa
Date Added: May 10, 2017
Recommended by: Mr. Panda

It’s a Zelda comic (that I mentioned above with Hyrule Historia).  Need I say more?  Apparently, Link speaks in it, too!  It’s pretty highly rated on Goodreads, and Mr. P. says he saw a bunch in a bookstore, so the monthly trip is happening this Friday.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 463
Change from Last Week: +3


Books Added to 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: 5/3/17          The State of the Reader: 5/17/17–>

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

Save

The State of the Writer: 5/7/17

<–The State of the Writer: 4/30/17          The State of the Writer: 5/14/17–>

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.

*****Warning:  Discussions of rape as it pertains to The Broken Rose.*****

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 268,653
Prior Word Count: 268,665
Word Difference: -12
Status: Editing
Progress: Posting Chapter 9

Posting a chapter is a days’ long project.  I’ve done so here, on AO3, and Deviant Art.  Only tumblr is left.  Even though I don’t use tumblr as often as I used to, I still like to keep up with my posting there, since it’s a decent repository for fanfiction. Just in case you’re curious.  This is how long it took me to edit each chapter so far:

Chapter 1 – 5 days
Chapter 2 – 33 days
Chapter 3 – 31 days
Chapter 4 – 2 days
Chapter 5 – 10 days
Chapter 6 – 53 days
Chapter 7 – 43 days
Chapter 8 – 42 days
Chapter 9 – 43 days

Total Editing Days – 262 days
Average Num. Days per Ch. – 29

Why am I like this?  I’ll try to remember to put the editing duration for each chapter.  I don’t know why I’m such a numbers junkie, but I just love facts, figures and excel spreadsheets.  It’s also boggling my mind that I’ve spent nearly a year in editing o.O

Chapter 10 is going to be another long edit like Chapter 8.  There’s a lot of chaff to weed through, and I’ll probably end up cutting out quite a lot.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get to start that tonight or at the very least prep it.

I received a very nice email through my WP contact feature from someone who was only mildly familiar with the name Final Fantasy.  She liked the fact that I threw in bits and pieces of the back story, since she was then able to understand more of what was going on.  She also had a critique I 100% agree with and thought of previously, but was either too lazy or too forgetful to remedy.

Aeris wouldn’t call what happened to her “rape,” because rape denotes a violation and a crime.  While she obviously hated what she was subjected to, it occurred for so long that she would lose all sense that it was a violation.  It would just become part of her horrible, torturous life, and what constitutes a crime is utterly contingent upon the society in which the crime occurs.  Since the “society” she was forced into saw her as property, what they did to her wasn’t criminal (to them) even though it was obviously wrong.  Absolute right and absolute wrong aren’t contingent upon any societal mores, and hurting anyone in such a way is a clear violation of human rights.

That term “rights,” (which I attempted to define in Chapter 9) is often misunderstood.  People often think that rights are granted by ruling bodies, but this is erroneous.  Rights are protected by ruling bodies, and how they’re given is much more philosophical and up for debate.  Most people agree that all living beings have the right to not be tortured or abused, and all people should have equal rights; however disagreement springs up at the extent of rights people should have.  I have some pretty strong opinions about this, but I don’t want to get too political, so I’ll leave it at that.  The main point is I had Aeris using the term “rape” when she wouldn’t see it in that connotation.  The better term would probably be “use.”  That both better encompasses how she would comprehend it in addition to paralleling with both her and Sephiroth’s past.  I’ll have to go back at some point and edit again, and I do need to repost some chapters, as I’ve done some work on them since initially posting.

Quote: “I’m a monster, Aeris.  You didn’t see them.  You didn’t see their faces.”  *They forget what I am.  They forgot what I did, but I’ll always remember…*


Project: Game Review
Title: World of Final Fantasy
Status: Editing
Current Word Count: 5154
Prior Word Count: 4405
Word Difference: +749

world-of-final-fantasy

I think I’m all but done with this review save for the edit.  I am debating whether I should add something in, something very interesting I found when I was looking up Shelke’s origins.

She’s originally from Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, and like everyone else in the FFVII universe, she has a horrifying back story.  I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Dirge, but the more I read about it, the more involved, in depth, and heartbreaking the story sounds.  The Shinra messed up so many people, and it puts a bit of a pall on the fact that everyone considers them “good” in Advent.  I agree that they’re no longer involved in human experimentation or doing things to harm the planet, but that’s really only because Sephiroth killed the president, the world was nearly destroyed by meteor, and geostigma occurred, so that served as their wake up call.  It’s also possible that Avalanche succeeded in at least informing enough of the population about what they were doing, which would be a PR nightmare, and the demand for a better energy source forced them to examine and alter their methods (I don’t have much faith in large corporations to just up and change their profitable platforms on a whim, call me skeptical if you wish).  Anyway, what happened to Shelke was not only monstrous, but what she gained from it reminds me of something else.  I’m debating whether or not I want to discuss that in the WOFF review or save it for when I (eventually, you know in twenty years) watch and review Dirge.  We’ll see how I feel during the edit.


Project: Book Review
Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Status: Planning

After nearly a year, I finally finished this compendium of Welsh myths.  I’ll be working on the review this week and probably at least setting it up tonight.


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: 4/30/17          The State of the Writer: 5/14/17–>

Save

Save

Save

The State of the Reader: 5/3/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/26/17          The State of the Reader: 5/10/17–>

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: 11

  1. The Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto: Kept – It’s a book about fallen angels and the first chapter had the image of one wing on it.  Hells yes, I’m going to keep this.  I didn’t put it on my really-want-to-read list only because the writing is a little “below” the type I like, but I’m very curious about what happens.
  2. The Reviled by Cynthia A. Morgan: Passed – Sometimes in reading samples and stories of other authors, you learn what not to do with your own.  This book has a prologue that not only introduces the concepts around the book, but also talks about what the narrative is supposed to be a metaphor for.  Now if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a good metaphor, and I also love if/when a writer/creator confirms if one is true, but it’s lessened if the author tells you what it is beforehand.  Give your readers some credit and let them figure it out for themselves.  I will always favor Death of the Author over Word of God, considering authors may not even realize the concepts they’re paralleling in their work.  Also notwithstanding, the writing wasn’t the kind I favor either.
  3. The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle: Kept (RWTR) – I’m not surprised I kept this one nor am I shocked it found its way (or remained) on my really-want-to-read list.  Ms. Tuttle is the co-author of Windhaven, which she wrote with George R. R. Martin, and though I did have some trouble getting into the story, that was more due to pacing and not the writing style.  The pacing issue was more than likely due to the novel being made up of short stories and novellas pieced together.  This sample was instantly engaging, speaking of which, there’s a mysteriously broken one the MC is going to investigate.  Additionally, she’s just recently lost her best friend to a car accident.  The author wouldn’t bring something like that up if it wasn’t going to factor in later.
  4. Krim Du Shaw by Talia Haven: Kept (Purchased) – Since this is a short story, the sample paralleled that length and was only one page long.  It’s about horses, and the book is only $0.99, so I figured why not?
  5. Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon: Passed – Ugh.  I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t like this book, because I’ve seen Sherrilyn Kenyon in the fantasy section for years, and her novels look so interesting, but the sample instantly turned me off in both the prologue and first chapter.  The main female character wakes up handcuffed to a strange man.  Okay.  I’m fine with this so far.  They’ve both been abducted.  How are they going to get out of this situation?  She realizes he’s still alive and shakes him until he comes to.  He immediately flips her over on her back and presses himself against her.  Um, what?  Then she gets turned on by this?  Um what the fuck?  You’ve been kidnapped, handcuffed to some strange guy, and now he’s in the ravishing position over you, and this is cool?  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t judge your kink.  If that’s your fantasy, please go right ahead, but the thing about fantasies is you’re generally in control of the situation.  It just seemed unrealistic and more in line with those romance novels of old where shit like that always happened, and the woman was perfectly okay with it.  Then the next chapter did nothing but talk about how great this guy was.  He was apparently a god or he had godlike abilities *rolls eyes*  Again, one of the lessons I try to learn from books I either don’t like or have major issues with is what not to do with my own characters.
  6. Pretty Things by Christine Haggerty: Kept – Retold fairy tales are my bread and butter especially since I’ve written a retold fairy tale, and I use them for inspiration in all of my works.  This didn’t find its way onto my RWTR list because I’m trying to cut down on that.  Actually…I think I’m going to attempt to whittle it down to 100 books if not less.  If I haven’t read a sample of a book yet, I’m definitely removing it from there.
  7. Astarte Rising by Greg Thomas: Kept – I really don’t recall too much about this sample, but I didn’t hate it; it has a fairly high Goodreads rating, so I figure I might as well keep it.
  8. Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson: Kept – I’m fairly certain the female reporter is a vampire or a werewolf.  Since she’s out during the day (at least I think she is), I’m leaning towards werewolf, though why she’s carrying around a kitten is anyone’s guess.
  9. The Night Manager by John le Carré; Kept – I’m really glad I liked this book.  It was introduced to me through the BBC series staring Tom Hiddleston, my favorite actor ♥♥♥  So reading it, I envision Tom as Jonathan Pine, which is the part he played.  I never finished the BBC series, but I’m hoping to before I get to the book.
  10. Purity by Jonathan Franzen: Kept – The writing in this is so compelling, and the mysteries/plot coupons the author presents are almost too delicious to bear.
  11. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: Kept – So far I like the prologues (there have been two so far, one to the series as a whole, one for the novel at hand), but that’s how I felt about Mistborn, too.  I feel like this novel is more showing, less telling though, and his writing seems more on point.  I believe Mistborn was his first series, so it would make sense that Stormlight would have a more refined tone.

Passed: 2
Kept: 9

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 4/26/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/19/17          The State of the Reader: 5/3/17–>

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: 8

  1. (Almost) Average Anthology: Tales of Adventure, Loss, and Oddity by Jason Nugent: Passed – The writing comes off as very amateurish.  According to the blurb, the author pulled together the work he had posted on his blog, which I find very admirable; unfortunately, in execution, it reads more like a first draft or an outline, at least the first story did.
  2. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson: Kept – I nearly teetered to the other side of the fence with this one.  There was a lot of heavy jargon in the beginning, and quite a few pages of literally listing the cast of characters.  I think the story would’ve started out much stronger if the author had begun with the first chapter, which is the reason I decided to keep it on my list.
  3. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson: Kept (Purchased) – It’s geared towards ages 6-12 and reads like a fairy tale.  I can see myself breezing through this book.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfield: Passed – It didn’t grip me for all its stream of consciousness writing.  I found it to be quite tedious if I’m being honest.  It comes with high accolades, but I don’t think it’s for me.
  5. The Glade by Harmony Kent: Kept – I was very close to putting this on my really-want-to-read list, but I’m trying to save that for books that I must have immediately, and while this was really interesting and set up a mystery with numerous plot coupons to cash in, it’s not on my must have radar.  It’s really hard for a non-fantasy book to wind up on there.
  6. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay: Kept (RWTR) – The prologue nearly brought me to tears; it was so beautifully written.  I’m a sucker for any stories that invoke the concept of memory, and the beginning of this book focused on a prince and a sculptor who were thrust into a battle they know they will not win.  It begins with the sculptor contemplating the stars on this last night and him expressing his regret that he never had the chance to sculpt his prince’s sons.  What struck me was how Mr. Kay conveyed what type of ruler this prince was in such a short amount of time.  Both of his teenage sons as well as the sculptor’s one were on the banks of that river with their fathers knowing they would all die in the morning.  He was neither a ruler who shirked his own duty nor did hide his sons away while asking his people to sacrifice their own.  Things like that are never forgotten.
  7. The Empty One by Matthew Stanley: Kept (Purchased) – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book written in verse, but it works…it strangely works, and it even rhymes.  Since it fulfilled my “under $2” rule, I bought it after I read enough of the sample.
  8. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – The first chapter of the sample made me a bit irritated, because it was the typical “princess has to marry a prince,” which the thirteen year old Caityn did not want to do, and to be honest, her mother was kind of gaslighting her.  I mean, I get it.  It’s what princesses are supposed to do, but I’m happy she stood her ground for as long as she did.  Then it turns out she’s quite excited to marry the prince who is a really awesome dude, and Caity and her brother have this amazing bantering, sibling relationship that reminds me of the one I have with my older brother.  Also, both the princess and the (brother) prince, while royalty, were exposed to charitable works their entire lives.  Caityn taught at a school and comforted orphans and widows, and Prince Adair (the brother) talked about a punishment where he had to serve in the scullery for a week.  I loved that.  Even though they were royalty, their parents taught them that there are consequences for misbehaving and instilled in them the idea that to rule is really to serve.  I can think of quite a few politicians who severely need that lesson.

Passed: 2
Kept: 6


Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Purchased: April 22, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Continue reading