The State of the Reader: 3/8/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>

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.

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 37 days

The second book in the series was a bit slower and just a tad weaker than the first.  This is not to say there weren’t parts that sent a chill down my spine and a thrill through my heart, but Ronan is a tough character to follow.  He does reckless things that are both hard to explain and difficult to understand even knowing his situation.  You feel bad for him, but then you grow exasperated with him due to his acerbic nature and cutting attitude.  He’s of “beg for forgiveness instead of ask for permission” crowd, acts on impulse, and doesn’t seem to care about the fallout.

I’m going to try to review this by next weekend.  That will give it time to marinate in my mind so I can better express my thoughts.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 18 days
Media: PDF/Kindle

I finished my friend’s wonderful novel and am now left with an issue.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  You’re probably thinking this is a good thing, but as I said last week, writers thrive on constructive criticism and I don’t have any to give.  Besides some minor typos, there’s nothing I’d change about the narrative.  The only thing I can possibly question is his audience.  I believe this is supposed to be a YA, but there’s some language and one particularly graphic scene.  However, The Dream Thieves is also apparently YA and it has strong language, too.  Regardless what I’m going to say, I’m happy and honored I was able to read this, and I can’t wait to see it on bookshelves.

Update: I sent him my feedback through FB messenger, and he was genuinely delighted.  This is a polished edition of the story, so he was quite happy that I didn’t find any major issues.  He also sent me the companion book to this one, which I’m excited to read so I can get the other side of the story.


Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Purchased: March 4, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $5.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Series Title: Gentlemen Bastards
Author: Scott Lynch
Date Added: October 11, 2012
Date Purchased: March 7, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

I was going through my downloaded-prior bookshelf on GR just to see if anything was on Amazon (Kindle) for cheap.  I almost bought another book that was $2.99, but decided to keep my limit at under $2.00.  There are still some situations where a physical copy is less expensive than Kindle.  In this case though, the price was more than right for a book that’s also on my really-want-to-read shelf.


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 12%

In karaoke there’s a concept called “sing and bring.”  It entails bringing up the next song you want to sing when you’re name is called to sing the last song you put in.  For some reason, I’m thinking about that as I read and add these books.  In all honesty, I consider this series just one long story.  As I finish the last, I immediately buy and add the next.  I’m hoping this installment delves into Blue’s origins.  We were given drips and drops about it in the first; absolutely no mention of it in the second (since that concerned Ronan), so I’m hoping we discover more about her elusive father with the ridiculous nickname.  I have my own theories about him, but we’ll see if I’m right when I read it.

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Started: March 3, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 20%

This novel reminds me great of Strange Things.  Power outages, parallel universes, strange girls.  The main characters are two brothers, and I’ve found that sometimes if characters are too similar, it can be difficult to keep track, but Brady is the elder and more cautious, while Felix is the adventurous child prodigy.  I’m excited to see where this goes.  The tension just keeps tightening.

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: 34%

I’m kind of in a stride with this book.  It doesn’t overly excite me to read it, but I don’t dread when it’s in the rotation, and it’s kind of a “Hm, I wonder what the Prospero siblings are up to now.”  It’s like catching up with friends who have hobbies that aren’t your interest, but you care about them, because they’re their hobbies.  Like The Quantum Door, the author manages to differentiate the siblings so that I don’t have to constantly remind myself who’s who, though so far there have only been two others introduced besides the main character Miranda.

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: 34%

I have a bit of a confession…I’m starting to lose interest in this book.  I know. I know.  I’ve been talking about studying astrophysics and quantum physics, so how dare I falter a book about the same.  It’s certainly not a slight on Professor Hawking’s writing, but he has such a brilliant mind that I have to concentrate fully in order to absorb all of the information, and for many reasons, my mind tends to wander, and concentration can be a difficult beast to catch.  I do wonder how I would do with this topic in a classroom setting.  I’m going to keep reading especially since I’m almost finished the first part.  What I may do is read that, which I’d count as one book (this version just happens to have both), and then I’d read another reference book in the interim (The Hyrule Historia.  I already know) before returning to read The Universe in a Nutshell.  I’d figure out the logistics on Goodreads later.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 67%

So the king found out what his asshole nephews did, but it was at the end of a chapter.  The poor handmaiden told him, and he not only believed her, but made her his own queen and promised vengeance.  I cannot wait to read the next chapter.  Oh, you have no idea how much I love righteous vengeance (if you’re reading myThe Broken Rose fanfiction, you’ll find out in a later chapter.  Shit.  Gets.  Real).


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

No chapter updates for a while, per her last reply to my comment.  She has to take care of some personal shenanigans (which I totally understand) so like I do to so many of my readers, I shall have to wait.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastian de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017

There’s a kick ass review of this over on Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog, and it was so, er, explosive (you’ll understand how dirty that joke was if you go to her blog.  I’m a mess…hahaha *gross*) I had to add this book.  Plus the series is called Greatcoats.  I love greatcoats aka long coats aka badass longcoats.

Title: Descendants
Series Title: The Arete Series
Author: Rae Else
Date Added: March 5, 2017

I had the honor of being asked by another author to beta read their work, this one in the form of an eArc.  I downloaded it on my Kindle this evening and am going to try to get to it before release date April 12.  Either way, I’m going to purchase to support the author whose blog (and the post about the book in question) can be found here!

Title: Gathering Blue
Series Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Date Added: March 7. 2017

I had no idea The Giver had a sequel and was a series (I think there are least four books in it).  I read the series opener a long time ago back in high school, and I have not seen the movie.  I liked the book’s ending.  It was ambiguous, bittersweet, and made sense for the type of novel it was.  I heard the movie went a different direction, because people tend to like happy endings.  Since I haven’t seen it, I can’t really judge whether or not this was a good move.

I was going through all of the books I’ve marked as read on Goodreads, and it’s less than 400!  I’ve read many more books than that, but memory is not always kind to the Shameful Narcissist, so while I’m pretty sure I’ve read over a thousand books, fucked if I can remember what they are.  I can envision my high school’s library, and I’m trying to imagine myself walking through the sections I used to haunt in an attempt to recall the books I found and read there.  I’m trying the same thing with my old local library and bookstore.  What I could do is look at the books I’ve read on Amazon and see what the recommendations are in an attempt to jog my memory.  This will have to be another organizational project though.

Either way, I added a bunch of Ms. Lowry’s Anastasia series, which I read ad nauseum as a teenager (if you haven’t read her Autumn Street do it.  It’s a book about racism as seen through the eyes of a child), and that’s when I noticed this unknown series for a book I read years ago.

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Date Added: March 8, 2017

A Beauty and the Beast retelling that comes with high acclaim, or at least one of my Goodreads’ friends gave it high marks.  It’s average rating is above 4.00, which means quite a few people found it worthy.  I love fairy tale retellings, and I use fairy tales a lot in my own works both fanfiction and original, so finding one is almost always an insta-add.  I like to see how other authors shuffle the well known narrative and tropes around, and I’m obviously not above doing a bit of shuffling myself.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 443
Change from Last Week: +3


A Sample Question

So I download samples to my Kindle and decide what to keep, what to put on my really-want-to-read shelf, and what to put in my passed-based-on-sample shelf.  I don’t include these because I generally don’t talk about books I’ve removed, and anything I put on an additional shelf is already on my TBR list.  I could start including what samples I’ve downloaded if you’d be interested in that.  Since I’d be talking about what either attracts me to or repels me from a book, it could make for some interesting conversation.  Let me know your thoughts down below!


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: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>

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Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (DNF)

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

Pages: 296
Publication Date:
September 20, 2016
Media:
Hardback
Progress: 20%

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


The fact I didn’t finish this book proves that I don’t like every story with a dead mother paradigm.  God. Damn.  That sounds super cynical, but usually that’s my kryptonite for sympathizing with a character, and it usually holds my interest throughout any tale.

Vassa in the Night is based on the Russian fairy tale “Vassalisa the Beautiful,” a story I’ve never read, but I surmise it’s their version of Cinderella.  I’m still interested in reading the original source even if an offshoot didn’t hold my attention.  What drew me to it in the first place was the emphasis on the personification of “night,” and the prologue seems to promise that this will be a prevalent plot point.  I love when abstract concepts are incarnated into entities with (free) will, but the snippet at the beginning was probably supposed to tide the reader over until later.

I think Vassa fell flat for me because I was expecting a story more like Mark Helprin’s Winter’s Tale, and instead I got an urban fantasy (as opposed to a Helprin’s novel, which is more magical realism).  UF is probably my least favorite subsection of the fantasy genre.  I just don’t have much interest in reading about established, mundane cities regardless if you slather a veneer of magic over their grime, and holy shit…I just realized that FFVII could arguably be considered (among other things) an urban fantasy especially considering Midgar is supposed to be an analogue of New York, so I’m totally talking out of my ass.  Let me attempt to mitigate.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 1/4/17

<–The State of the Reader: 12/28/16          The State of the Reader: 1/11/17–>

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.

Books Currently Reading: 4

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 48%

I’m pretty sure I read a bit of this this week, but not enough to move the percentage needle.  I’m currently at a part where the greatest concern seems to be a false king and a secret paternity.  The prince of the new tribes believes his father to be one man, but he’s actually someone else, and this particular individual (along with the prince) is one of seven survivors of the Welsh’s war with the Irish.  Intriguing much.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 20, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 61%

You know it’s bad when the first sex scene between the characters does nothing for you, and their parting doesn’t move your heart one bit.  I don’t feel too bad giving this away, since it’s a general staple of romance narratives.  They fuck and they part, though not necessarily in that order in every narrative.  My biggest issue with this story is how abruptly Feyre and Tamlin fell in love.  It went from her having no interest in him to being head over heels for the High Lord.  There was little to no progression in the feeling, nor was any attraction painting prior to Chapter 18.  The one good thing I can say about this (and it’s kind of selfish but…) is I’m going to be extra diligent about such a paradigm when I reedit my own paranormal romance.  My biggest fear with stories like that is the romance doesn’t seem authentic, and that’s the problem I’m running into here, because there wasn’t adequate build up in the beginning.  I’m more than halfway through and still curious about what’s causing the blight.  The dialogue is at least well written and fairly witty, so there’s that to its credit.

Title: The Raven Boys
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 21, 2015
Date Started: January 1, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 10%

I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my in-laws, and I absolutely adore it.  I was looking into purchasing one myself, since they’re only around $50, which is more than fair for a tablet.  I don’t see the need to drop $300-$500 on an iPad, when I’m really just paying for the name.  The Fire has 16G of space, and I’ve been using it to read and watch Let’s Plays on YouTube.  I downloaded a few apps as well, and may get one of those games you can play with your cat, because I’m that kind of person.

I prefaced with this because the KF is how I’m reading the above book, and I absolutely love it.  The main character Blue is a non-psychic in a family of female clairvoyants, but she’s always brought to a churchyard every year with her mother as the soon-to-be-dead march past.  She’s apparently an amplifier, even though she can’t see them herself. Well that changes (of course) this year when Maura (Blue’s mom) is replaced by Neeve, Blue’s aunt.  Blue sees a dying boy named Gansey who goes to the rich kid’s school in their town of Henrietta.  She usually stays away from them, but of course now the young woman is drawn into their world.

I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Steifvater’s writing ever since I read the first few chapters of Shiver.  It was a gift for a friend so I was never able to finish it (it, too, is on my extensive list).  The instant I read the sample for this, I knew I’d have to download it, and since I’ve taken to reading a chapter (or more) on my lunch break, I’m certain I’ll finish soon.

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: 8%

Lately to escape how terrible things are (and going to be) down here on Earth, I’ve been watching/listening to YouTube videos about quantum physics, astrophysics, dark matter, dark energy, the origin of the universe, neutron stars, the end of everything, and the like.  It makes my brain waves flutter especially when I consider eternity and the fact that nothing really matters (but ironically within that everything does).  While I erroneously think I’m smart enough to study such things, I at least know I need a remedial crash course, and Mr. Hawking’s Universe in a Nutshell is a fine beginning.  I actually started reading this book years ago, but like many things, put it to the side, and didn’t pick it back up until now.  It’s written in very rudimentary language for the average person to understand.  It’s a good starting point if you’re curious about life, the universe, and everything.  I’d also recommend reading Douglas Adams’s Live, the Universe, and Everything, as well.


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

I’m seriously worried about my friend runicmagitek, and I sincerely hope that she’s just been so busy with the holidays that she hasn’t had time to check her tumblr.  It’s the only way I have of contacting her (especially since AO3 doesn’t have a messaging system).  This is what is a bit sucky and often terrible about online friendships.  If something happens to someone you only have the barest of information about, you’ll never really know.  Not that I’m a stalker or a creeper, but I am a worrier.  Here’s to hoping I hear something soon ;_;

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Dissonance
Series Title: Dissonance
Author: Erica O’Rourke
Date Added: December 30, 2016

This was a lucky find as I was scrolling through my Goodreads.  I’m fascinated by alternate universes and sort of subscribe to the multiverse theory.  I believe it’s a possibility, and there’s been some scientific evidence to support.  Until such a day when we have concrete proof, I shall take these inventive little tales about a heroine who can navigate between these realities, keeping the dimensions in harmony.

Title: Gilded Cage
Series Title: Dark Gifts
Author: Vic James
Date Added: December 30, 2016

The commons serving the elite is nothing new in story or reality.  The only difference in this tale is the elite’s power is magical as well as monetary.  All commoners must serve them for ten years, and the protagonist, Abi, is in servitude to England’s most powerful family.  In true Stockholm Syndrome fashion, she falls for one of the noble-born sons (ah hypergamy).  I’m not averse to stories with well used tropes.  I feel that messages can become more powerful in repeat.

Kim of By Hook or By Book brought up a decent critique about diversity in her review here (which is why I added this in the first place), but I’m hoping that won’t detract too much from the overall message of the story.

Title: The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin
Author: Jonathan L. Ferrara
Date Added: January 1, 2017

After finishing The Ghost of Buxton Manor, I went to Mr. Ferrara’s Goodreads’ page, following him as an author and added his other book.  I also tweeted him my love of his story, followed his (and Aaron’s) YouTube page (I already follow their WordPress), and discovered there’s going to be a sequel to Ghost.  In the interim, I believe I’ll read up on the true history of Rupert Buxton and Michael Davies, while I work on my Ghost review.

The Guardians of Sin appears to be another paranormal adventure involving spirits and secrets, also guardian angels, serpents, and the unleashing of the Seven Deadly Sins, so I’m now even more interested.

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexander Dumas
Date Added: January 4, 2017

The most memorable reference I have for this book is from the movie V for Vendetta, where the titular character, played by Hugo Weaving, shows it to his “captive” Evey, played by Natalie Portman.  I know it has a happy ending (or at least the movie does), and I know from the blurb it’s about a man falsely imprisoned.  The reason I added it now is because of a comment on Deviant Art about The Broken Rose.  One of my readers was wondering if the story was going to take a Monte Cristo angle to which I (internet) laughed and responded that I’d never read it, but I’d have to add it to my TBR list (huh…the abbreviation for “to be read” and The Broken Rose are exactly the same.  That’s hilarious).  She replied that the novel was a bid stodgy, and I might want to entertain myself with the movie.  I figure I’ll give the book a try though.  I could always use more classics for my list.

Title: The Lie Tree
Author: Frances Hardinge
Date Added: January 4, 2017

A tale of a tree that will give you truth for every lie, and the bigger the lie, the greater the truth.  I’m also interested in the incongruence of a main character named Faith who thirsts for science and secrets, and the secret of the tree is too great for her to resist.  Drawn into the search by her disgraced father’s journals, Faith enters a world of lies, danger, and the truth that can unbind it all.

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Date Added: January 4, 2017

The book channeled both a Cinderella vibe with the dead mother replaced with a cruel stepmother and ASOIAF with it’s fairy tales about Frost, a blue-eyed winter demon.  It seems to spin itself like a meta-fairy tale.  There’s an even deeper ASOIAF connection as Vasilisa and her siblings’ nursemaid warned them to keep the old rituals and honor the spirits of house, yard, and forest in order to protect their home from evil and keep dark things at bay (e.g. Craster in Song), but the stepmother forbids it.  The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa seems to know that more hinges on the rituals than mere rote.  I’m a sucker for a good fairy tale, and I love stories that mix paradigms with others I already love.  I have a feeling the stepmother may be an agent of Frost or something like that or Frost may not be as terrible as he seems.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: +6
Change from Last Week: 540


Books Added to Goodreads To Be Reread List This Week: 0


Books Purchased This Week: 10

I received all of the books I ordered from Amazon in between last week’s post and this week’s.  I believe I usually do the full breakdown, but owing to the fact I have ten books to add, I’m just going to cite the title, author, brief comment, and a link to the SOTR where I included it, if available;  I’ll just link to Goodreads if not.

  1. The Sword of Maiden’s Tears by Rosemary Edghill – I remember exactly why I wanted this one.  Check this description in the blurb:  “He was tall, with long, silvery hair, catlike eyes…” DONE.  That’s all I needed.  Added and bought as soon as I could find it.
  2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – I recall downloading a sample of this and loving both the language and the story.  Even though I didn’t finish that excerpt, with books I’m sure of, I don’t always have to.  There are three realities, and the protagonist can traverse them all (this sounds similar to the Dissonance added above.  Again, I love stories of the multiverse).
  3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – There are just way too many amazing things about this book to adequately put into words, and I haven’t even read it yet.  It twists the story of the wicked witch, the stolen child, and the admirable hero on its head, throwing in magic by moonlight, and the “girl” in question looks brown on the cover.  Yassss.
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Thanks to social media, I already know what the allegory for this is about, and I’m hoping that’s not going to spoil it too much.  I won’t reveal what I know just in case it is, since knowledge given can never be taken back.  Ah, I just read the blurb about the main character’s mother receiving her “treatments,” so it may not be as big of a spoiler as I thought.  The last line of it still twists cold through my heart.  “This monster is something different, something ancient, something wild.  And it wants the truth.” *shivers*
  5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I have a hit or miss relationship with Ms. Valente.  Okay, so really on one miss (Palimpsest), and one I’m going to give another chance (In the Cities of Coin and Spice [The Orphan’s Tales #2]).  The title itself intrigues me, and while I was a bit lukewarm on the sample, I still have high hopes.
  6. Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplight – It wasn’t just the silver haired lady on the front cover (though I have to admit that was a draw), but also my love of stories set in modern times with historical, magical undertones.  Because let’s face it, those immortal beings are still going to be around, and how would they fit into our current age?  Also, the title is a clear homage to Milton’s Paradise Lost so there’s that.
  7. Dying of the Light by George R R Martin – Of course my favorite author is going to have a place on this purchased list.  My goal is to read all of his stories (not necessarily this year, but in my lifetime).  Like many of Martin’s stories, this one contains a jilted lover set on a world similar to ours just slightly off kilter.  The oddity in Dying is the perpetual twilight, a trope I’ve seen used in Final Fantasy IX with the city of Treno, and in WOFF as well.  I’m actually in the Eclipsed Region right now.  If there was every a land for me, that would be it.
  8. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore – Another moon based fairy tale steeped in roses, silver, and magical realism.  There aren’t nearly enough books of that latter ilk.  It’s difficult to do.  To ride that line between fantasy and reality.  Make people believe the wonders are just out of sight.  What a lovelier world this would be if that were only so.
  9. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – Something about the title of this sparked my interest.  If you couldn’t tell from the moon based stories I have on this list, I’m a bit of a night creature.  If you dig enough to peel off the first layer, it’s easy to see how my two favorite series (Final Fantasy and ASOIAF) are quite a bit moon obsessed, too.  It’s not so much the moon per se as the night it often lights.  I also have this fascination with “night in the city” motifs.  What am I talking about?  I don’t really know how to explain, but as much as I love bucolic settings in fantasy, I do enjoy urban ones if done to my specifications.  I’m not really a fan of urban fantasy, rather I like when urban settings are made fantastic, if you get what I mean.  Magical cities a la mythopoetic New York as seen in Helprin’s Winter’s Tale.  Vassa seems to hum to that same melody invoking Russian folklore and what appears to be a manifestation of Baba Yaga.
  10. Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez – I need to up my comic book reading game, and there’s no time like the present.  I was actually in a comic book store on New Year’s Day and saw this along with Saga.  I considered picking up Saga, but it was $50 for the first volume!  I guess the Saga will not continue.  I’m not sure how I’m going to fit comics/graphic novels into my reading cycle.  If I’m going to read them alongside my regular four or use them as my fantasy/general fiction.  The latter is sounding more feasible unless the elder gods compel me otherwise…

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: 12/28/16          The State of the Reader: 1/11/17–>

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The State of the Writer: 9/17/16

<–The State of the Writer: 9/10/16          The State of the Writer: 9/24/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday 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: 278,963
Prior Word Count: 277,651
Word Difference: +1312
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st Edit of Chapter 4

split-staircase

The picture is actually more connected to Chapter 3, but I really haven’t found much for Chapter 4 yet.  I’m still looking for an image for the chapter itself.  The stairs aren’t exactly as I envision them in my head either, but the fanciness and the chandelier are fairly equivalent.  In the story, the split happens after a single set of marble steps that lead to an opulent landing.  Pictures of that setup were sadly lacking though I found plenty of the opposite where two stairs converged into one.  I like the image above though as it fits with how I envision the second floor sort of balcony layout leading to more rooms and halls.  If I can’t afford opulence in my real life, I’ll damn sure write about it!

Last week Chapter 4 was in progress.  I manged to finish writing it and do the third edit of Chapter 3, which I stalled on in order to make sure it would flow nicely into 4.  I’m in the midst of Chapter 4’s edit right now.  I’m still hoping to finish that before the end of this weekend since Monday is when I return to work.

Quote: Sephiroth stopped before the set table.  Turned his head with tightly sealed eyes.  The general feared nothing except for his darkness, save corruption that lived in that light.  It could burn down the world and once nearly did, but now he was in control.  They could not be dormant, those alien cells.  They were part of him, bound to his blood.  That entity eldritch though no longer ruled.  Its destruction had been long assured.  The cells that existed no more felt the pull for there was no horror to draw them.  And yet the Great General never lost fear for in his heart now was dark fire.  To hear the last Ancient, the one he had killed, whose death would not cease from his soul, to hear her say men whom she’d died to save had done this turned him to a monster.  A nightmare to stalk those crumbling slums where laughter would drown in raw screams.


Project: Story
Title:
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6787
Current Word Count: 6787
Word Difference: 0
Status: Critiques received
Progress: Need to review critiques

I looked over a few critiques in the beginning, but I can’t say I’ve made any progress on this story.  I’m hoping to get back in the swing of things soon.  The second edit still needs to happen with the critiques received in mind.  I really wanted to write the new Chapter 4.  I suppose it must be odd to people that I’d spend more time on a fanfiction that will get me nowhere rather than an original story that might, but I’ve never been one to only look at it like that.  While I obviously can’t do anything with the fanfiction in terms of “legitimate” publishing, that doesn’t mean the message in it isn’t important.  Plus it’s not like I’ve had much luck with “legitimate” publishing anyway.


Project: Vacation Essays
Genre: Various
Status: In Progress

Completed:

I attempted to work on my Half a Tragedy FFVII comparative post, but when I sat down to write it, I drew a complete blank on how to begin.  I worked on an outline yesterday though so hopefully in the coming weeks, I’ll have something to show for it.

I didn’t work on the “Wide Awake” slideshow.  I was just…too tired to try to look for images for the words.  I also kind of want to transition to making AMVs, which is another kind of challenge.

No character analyses happened either.  I really feel like this year I accomplished much less on vacation, but then again last year I only really worked on my Editing Notes posts.  This year I tried to get out a variety of articles, and I’m still dealing with this chronic fatigue and dizziness, which I’m attempting to define (we’re not going to get into my horrible endocrinologist appointment right now.  Maybe in another post).

Oh, and I managed to finish a decade long reading of The Mystical Qabalah and post a review.


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: 9/10/16          The State of the Writer: 9/24/16–>

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The State of the Writer: 8/13/16

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/16          The State of the Writer: 8/20/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday 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: 273,244
Prior Word Count: 273, 963
Word Difference: -719
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 3

Ocean Sunrise

I just finished an editing session this morning, though I had to cut it short due to circumstances.  I’m plugging away at Chapter 3, still seeking a chapter picture, and struggling with what picture I’m even going to post on this update.  I have solid mental images in my head, but unfortunately they seem to be in short supply in the real world.

I decided on an ocean sunrise since I’m at the part where Sephiroth carries Aeris outside the next morning in order to take her to get help.  She’s been questioning the light that’s been spilling through her curtains, and now she gets to see it for true.  Again I don’t think this will be the chapter picture either, because the focus is more on her receiving much needed aid.  I’ll have to keep searching.

Quote: Softened hair spilled over her face as Aeris turned with a squint.  A little gasp escaped her throat to witness daylight again.  From a split in the curtains, a shaft sauntered forth, painting stark sun on the carpet.  She squeezed her eyes shut, now more terrified that all of this would just melt.  Without vision a low roar rolled through her ears like a giant, purring beast.  Patterned on top were higher soft cries.  Aeris covered her head as she trembled.

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The State of the Reader: 6/22/16

<–The State of the Reader: 6/15/16          The State of the Reader: 6/29/16–>

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.

Books Currently Reading: 3
Change from Last Week: 0

Title: Windhaven
Authors: George R R Martin and Lisa Tuttle

WindhavenMedium: Paperback
Progress: 76%

I’m happy I stuck with this, because it did become interesting again in a bookendish fashion actually.  While I have my critiques that will be discussed during the review, I actually found myself tearing up at a critical and heartbreaking part.  I hope to finish this by next week’s update.

Title: Paradise Lost
Author
: John Milton

Paradise LostMedium: Paperback
Progress:
76%

Disclosure time.  I only stuck with this book in order to find that part where God allegedly takes one of Satan’s wings as per what a few people said on an FFVII forum in response to why Sephiroth only has one wing.  They insisted it was a Paradise Lost reference.  Well, I looked up the synopsis of the two final books, and Satan doesn’t seem to be in any of them.  He gets transformed into a giant serpent and the synopses only mention Adam, Eve,  God, and the angels, which is so freaking boring.  I know this is messed up, but Satan was 100% carrying that story.  I decided to google “Paradise Lost God takes one of Satan’s wings.”  Nothing directly about it came up, but there was a summary of Book VI, where Michael brutally slashes Satan’s right side.  Maybe there was an implication that that was the result?  I don’t know.  I’m going to see if I can find a review/analysis of it.  Even without that, FFVII still has plenty of PL references, and though I should’ve mentioned this in my paragraph about Windhaven, it was not the first narrative to have the “one-wing” motif.  GRRM may have been the modern progenitor of that, which is just adding more notes to my Song of VIIs comparison.

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune

Mystical Qabalah, TheMedium: Paperback
Progress: 62%

I thought I read more of it than this (at least enough to go up a percent), but I did at least start Chapter 8, which concerns Hod.  Very slowly I’m chipping away at this explanation of the esoteric, though I feel I should carry it around with me for reference even when I’m finished.  Though it is touted as the best and simplest volume on it, The MQ is still quite dense.  It has to for the weight of what it’s explaining.

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