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: 9/20/17

<–The State of the Reader: 9/13/17          The State of the Reader: 9/27/17–>

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 Until Dark by Charlaine Harris: Kept – Now that I’ve added the correct book, I like it so far.   Vampire boyfriends are always cool with me.
  2. Half the World by Joe Abercrombie: Kept – Now that I’ve read the blurb, I have no idea why I was so reluctant to add this.  The main character is a young woman who is as shunned from warrior life/culture as Yarvi with his one hand was…if not more so.
  3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: Kept – I liked Maas’s Thorn and Roses series, so I’m hoping I enjoy this one, too.
  4. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley: Kept – There’s an ASOIAF vibe to it, but I suppose that’s going to be true of all fantasy, political dramas at this point.
  5. Don’t Close Your Eyes by Holly Seddon: Kept – Definitely a “fucked up” vibe to this one.  I believe this is the book about the two different women who don’t know each other at first, but tragedy brings them together.
  6. Winterspell by Claire Legrand: Kept (RWTR) – It’s been a while since I put a book on my really-want-to-read list, but I love retold fairy tales, and this is one for The Nutcracker.  I love the music to it and the magic of it, and this novel reads like both have been captured.
  7. Something from the Nightside by Simon Green: Kept – Not five minutes after I read the sample for this (and purchased it), one of my good IRL friends replied to one of my IRL BFF’s (I know so much internet speak OMG) about “the best Urban Fantasy.”  I didn’t have an answer for that since it’s not typically my genre, and though I believe there is one I really like, I can’t recall what it is.  My friend whom I’ll just refer to as Nightmare, since that’s his nickname AND he recommended Nightside, mentioned that novel, and it was one of those coincidental things I always seem to fall into.  I need to send him his birthday card with some money in it.  I made a promise!  Plus he’s trying to get a car and I have to help him out ♥
  8. Angelfall by Susan Ee: Kept – Angels fall and I buy.
  9. Heartborn by Terry Maggert: Kept – This is the second angel based novel I’ve sampled (and purchased, as you’ll see below), and I was looking up “seraph/seraphim” and “nephilim” yesterday for a book review.  Doing so put ideas into my narcissistic noggin.  I already have a huge angel head canon, but I kind of feel like writing it down again and maybe gathering more ideas.  The phrase “dark seraph” keeps popping back into my head.  I first thought about it when I was editing Northern Lights (shock), since that’s the perfect term to describe a particular fallen angel.  In shamefully narcissistic news, it’s a moniker I’d pick for myself of give to my mythical publishing company.  Dark Seraph Publishing sounds pretty boss, and Ash Rose the Dark Seraph sounds pretty final boss *headdesk*  (FYI – Ash Rose is my other and much older internet name).  You know…I need to figure out someplace to use that.  It sounds way too epic to pass by.
  10. Waste of Space by Gina Damico: Kept – I’m not usually one for either reality TV shows or bratty teens, but this seems like an absurd and comical Truman Show in space, and that’s too delicious to pass by.

Books Purchased This Week: 7

Title: Something from the Nightside
Series Title: Nightside
Author: Simon R. Green
Date Added: July 1, 2017
Date Purchased: September 17, 2017

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

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Half a King by Joe Abercrombie (Shattered Sea #1)

Title: Half a King
Series Title: Shattered Sea
Author: Joe Abercrombie
Date Added: July 14, 2015
Date Started: May 27, 2017
Date Finished: June 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 22 days
Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Grimdark

Pages: 385
Publication Date: July 3, 2014
Publisher: Del Rey
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Hamlet, The Lion King, ASOIAF, Radiance (Wraith Kings), An Ember in the Ashes


“I swore an oath to avenge the death of my father. I may be half a man, but I swore a whole oath.”
 
Prince Yarvi has vowed to regain a throne he never wanted. But first he must survive cruelty, chains, and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea. And he must do it all with only one good hand.
 
The deceived will become the deceiver.
 
Born a weakling in the eyes of his father, Yarvi is alone in a world where a strong arm and a cold heart rule. He cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he must sharpen his mind to a deadly edge.
 
The betrayed will become the betrayer.
 
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast and the lost, he finds they can do more to help him become the man he needs to be than any court of nobles could.
 
Will the usurped become the usurper?
 
But even with loyal friends at his side, Yarvi finds his path may end as it began—in twists, and traps, and tragedy.


If life has taught me one thing, it’s that there are no villains. Only people, doing their best.

Prince Yarvi lives in a society very similar to the Ironborn of George R R Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire: harsh, cruel, and unforgiving of weakness.  They follow Mother War, eschew Father Peace and present a juxtaposition within the two ideals, as the mother or feminine side is usually associated with tranquility whereas war and battle are typically portrayed as masculine.

Seriously…you don’t get much more “masculine” than this, and he’s literally the God of War.

As the second and youngest son of King Uthrik, Yarvi had neither hopes nor ambitions for the throne.  He was meant for the ministry, studying under Mother Gundring, where having only one good hand would make no difference.  Yarvi’s bitterness bleeds on the page, because he cannot live up to his culture’s expectations, and neither of his parents let him forget this.

A man swings the scythe and the ax, his father had said. A man pulls the oar and makes fast the knot. Most of all a man holds the shield. A man holds the line. A man stands by his shoulder-man. What kind of man can do none of these things?

I didn’t ask for half a hand, Yarvi had said, trapped where he so often found himself, on the barren ground between shame and fury.

I didn’t ask for half a son.

His mother isn’t much better in the beginning.  She has nothing but scorn for her disabled child, but considering their culture, his parents’ behavior makes perfect sense.  It doesn’t exist in a vacuum, but rather is a product of the harsh climate and culture they live in, which could be overlooked through the lens of presentism. This is not to say that Yarvi deserves his plight.  He doesn’t.  No one does whether from ancient history or far flung future; however, his misery fits into that zeitgeist, and his reaction to the emotional abuse and gaslighting is timeless.

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The State of the Writer: 7/16/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/9/17          The State of the Writer: 7/23/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,620
Prior Word Count: 266,387
Word Difference: +233
Status: Editing
Progress: Chapter 10 revisions

No use lying about what I’m doing.  I’m currently in a revision phase for this chapter right now.  I decided to change up a scene, and that’s what I’ve been working on for the past week or so.  The story is filled with highlights and breaks.  It’s a mess D:  Well, at least to my sensibilities it is.  I’ll patch it up and put it back together, though I’ve been having a hell of a time, well, finding the time.  I need to prioritize my editing instead of trying to wedge it in at the end of the day.  The good thing is I have pretty much everything in my notes.  It’s just a matter of putting it together.

Quote: “General?”

“Yes, little one?”  He kept his voice gentle.  “Is everything well, my Aeris?”

She shuddered at that, and her naked toes curled into thick, lustrous carpet.  Lifting her hands, she looked up at him, and the sight tore the threads of his heart.  “I-I…”  I ask him for so much.  Silver locks spilled on black garb.  He was so tall the Cetra’s neck ached already from staring up.  Summer eyes flutter, and Aeris swayed hard before his immense strength closed around.  His embrace sealed her tight in his full protection, and the tiny Cetra sobbed.  

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The State of the Writer: 7/9/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/2/17          The State of the Writer: 7/16/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,387
Prior Word Count: 266,754
Word Difference: -367
Status: Editing
Progress: 3rd edit of Chapter 10

I’m so close to completing the third edit.  If I have time I”ll do it tonight.  I decided to keep the graphic nightmare, and in fact I made it “worse” (warnings galore).  I’ve also been in a note writing frenzy, which means I can’t stop taking down potential scenes, most of which won’t find their way into the story, but I always write down every idea, since you never know what you can pull from there.  There are two that I might incorporate in later or earlier chapters.  I am definitely planning on updating earlier chapters, but that’s obviously going to take some time.

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The State of the Writer: 6/25/17

<–The State of the Writer: 6/18/17          The State of the Writer: 7/2/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 267,254
Prior Word Count: 267,565
Word Difference: -311
Status: Editing
Progress: 3rd edit of Chapter 10

When I finished the second edit, I realized I didn’t like the pacing of the chapter.  Something was off.  It was too long, too drawn out, too…something.  I created an outline as I’d said I was planning last week in order to organize my thoughts and figure out what the chapter is supposed to accomplish.  I won’t know how much it’s helped until I reedit and reorg then do yet another edit afterwards.

Right now I’m at a part that I need to change, and it’s amazing how something so simple as Sephiroth not taking off his coat can be complicated in writing.  You have to make sure the text following takes that into account, and anything you miss could cause confusion or give away the fact that extensive changes were done.  Even though we all know writers spend a great deal of their time editing, that being evident in the text breaks the illusion necessary to suspend disbelief.

Quote: I always wear a coat with lining whenever we go anywhere.  In case you grow cold or are tired or frightened, I can just wrap you in this.”


Project: Book Review
Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Status: Drafting

I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to do this review like I did the one for The Light of the Fireflies, where I split it into two parts.  The first is the spoiler free review, and the second is where I have to spoil it to talk about specific points.  I may be able to say what I need without doing the latter, but I’ll figure that out for sure when I have time to work on it again.


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Planning

I’m still five reviews behind even though I’ve completed or started two since my last weekly update.  Saga: Volumes 4-6, A Court of Mist and Fury, and Half a King.


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: 6/18/17          The State of the Writer: 7/2/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 6/21/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/14/17          The State of the Reader: 6/28/17–>

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. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey: Kept – I’ve only read one book that involved Mercedes Lackey, and it was a collaboration with Piers Anthony, If I Pay Thee Not in GoldThis held my interest enough to give it a try.
  2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco: Kept (RWTR) – This is currently one of the many books with giveaway contests on Goodreads.  I doubt I’ll win, but I’d buy I plan to buy it eventually anyway.  It’s so beautifully written with such a dark premise.
  3. Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene: Passed – This comes off as overly religious and preachy.  I love religious symbolism, but this book seems like it’s going to have some judgmental moral at the end of it as to why the town is shrouded in darkness, and I just have no interest.
  4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Kept (RWTR) – I saw this book in Target a few months ago, but didn’t make the purchase because I wasn’t sure.  I regret not doing so.  The beginning is haunting as the main character Adelina overhears her father literally sell her to a merchant in order to pay off his debts, because no other man would want her due to the ravages of the “blood fever.”
  5. The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Green: Passed – The beginning is very confusing and jumbled.  I’m guessing the author wants to introduce the premise of what it feels like to “jump” into the minds of other species, but that’s already enough of an odd concept that obfuscating it even more makes the narrative damn near impossible to follow.  I was hoping for something akin to how GRRM describes warging in ASOIAF, but the beginning of this book is unfortunately a convoluted mess.  The blurb sounds really interesting, and I hate to pass on it, but it really lost me at the start.
  6. The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer: Kept (RWTR) – I’m surprised by this one.  I thought I was going to pass on it and didn’t consider it would wind up on my really-want-to-read list, but the way the people of this fantastic version of Venice are subjugating and abusing mythical creatures such as mermaids and stone lions calls for a great reckoning.
  7. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: Kept (RWTR) – This book was fascinating from the start.  Set in the Gold Rush Era, the main character is a girl who can sense gold, yet her family is still struggling.  Her father has some kind of ailment, and her parents don’t seem as overjoyed with her ability as you’d think.  I’m guessing because if anyone knows about it, they’d try to exploit her, and this seems to be the catalyst of the story.
  8. A Thread in the Tangle by Sabrina Flynn: Kept – I think if I hadn’t added the last two books to my really-want-to-read list I would’ve added this one, too.  Sometimes I reconsider and do that later, if a story stays with me, because this one is introduces some fantastic dynamics.  The one character (who appears to be more than human) is clearly not afraid of the emperor, and he seems to care far more about the monarch’s daughter than her father does (what is the title for an emperor’s daughter anyway?  I guess you could still use princess), seeing as the emperor is threatening to lock a four year old in the dungeon until she can be sold.  WTF.
  9. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: Kept (RWTR) – This book is a dream to someone who loves both magical realism and angels.  The main character may not be one for true, but having the wings of a bird is close enough for me.  The  language is lush and beautiful, and this is firmly on my to-buy-next shelf.  I could’ve purchased it on Kindle, but this is one of the novels I want to own a physical copy of.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $16.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

Title: Tigana
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Date Added: February 9, 2016
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $22.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

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The State of the Reader: 6/14/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/7/17          The State of the Reader: 6/21/17–>

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. Starglass by Phoebe North: Kept – I kept it, but I didn’t read that much of the sample.  Too many dead mom feels :\
  2. The Passage by Justin Cronin: Kept (RWTR) – I would’ve bought this had it not been so expensive.  Stories this immersive come along once in a blue moon, and the brief sample painted a picture I wish more people could understand: how poverty, domestic abuse, and lack of support utterly destroys lives.  Some people have no one to turn to when everything goes wrong, and they are driven to make undesirable choices when in reality there is none.
  3. Everlost by Neal Shusterman: Kept – I took it off my really-want-to-read list because the language is a bit juvenile, and I was expecting it to be more profound.  I think it’s more mid-grade than YA, so the author chose simpler language I suppose.
  4. Anomalies by Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman: Passed – Just rereading the blurb again told me this would have to blow me away with its prose for me to keep it.  It didn’t and the title makes me think it’s going to be in a similar vein to Divergent, which I was lukewarm on anyway, so this is going into my passed bin.
  5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: Kept – The gentle writing in this reminded me of how the early 1900 were romanticized, not how they really are.  While that narrative isn’t true, there is still a beauty in the lie.
  6. Fire, Fury, Faith by N. D. Jones: Kept – There’s a dearth of paranormal romance that features people of color, so I like to support whenever I can.  Plus this is about angels, my favorite thing ever.
  7. Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia: Kept – The writing is lush and pretty, and there’s something endearing about the android main character Mattie.
  8. Among Others by Jo Walton: Kept – Though the blurb puts this book into the fantasy genre, what I’ve read so far could just be considered magical realism or even magical wishism.  Nothing particularly magical has happened or rather the supposed magical thing could be chalked up to coincidence.  The language of the writing and the fact the main character loves reading sci-fi has me intrigued.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: Gaslight Hades
Series Title: The Bonekeeper Chronicles
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Purchased: June 11, 2017

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

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The State of the Reader: 6/7/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/31/17          The State of the Reader: 6/14/17–>

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 Names by Don DeLillo: Passed – I read White Noise by the same author in my postmodern literature class, and I loved it, but this one just didn’t catch me at all.
  2. All Fall Down by Christine Pope: Kept – I love the main character’s blunt, no-nonsense voice.  It works perfectly for her role.  I also love that she’s a doctor in a medieval fantasy setting, and she’s respected as such for the most part.  The only people who don’t respect her are the slaver’s who’ve captured her, obviously.  She makes it a point to say that her order values science so she’s not like the religious healers they compare her to.
  3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Kept – It didn’t strike me as hard as The Raven Boys, but Maggie Stiefvater still has this way about her writing that’s just so alluring.
  4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Passed – I really wanted to like this one.  I talked myself into adding it after seeing it pop up in my newsfeed a few times.  I won’t say I should’ve just passed on it without giving it a try, because you never know, but the story just doesn’t grab me.
  5. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds: Kept – The mystery of what killed off this alien civilization almost a million years ago overrides my dislike of the main character.  He could just be driven, but if there’s something called a “razorstorm” coming your way, it seems logical that you’d want to get yourself and people out of there.  I’m also wondering if this is a Reaper like situation.
  6. Alive by Scott Sigler: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit does this story drag you into a world of fear of confusion.  The main character starts off locked in a coffin, and she has to fight her way out.  She finds herself in a room with 11 other caskets and a plaque by hers with “M. Savage” on it, which is all she knows of her name.  I want to know what’s going on.
  7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Kept (RWTR) – If this hadn’t been so expensive, I would’ve bought it immediately.  The Archived in question are the dead, and the story starts out with two deaths and a whole bunch of secrets.
  8. The Crow Box by Nikki Rae: Kept/Purchased – I wasn’t as excited about this one as the above, but it was interesting and not that expensive.  The main character Corbin (which sounds a bit like corvus, the Latin word for crow) is plagued by a voice she doesn’t know is real or fake.  She worries about her mental health in seeing her mother’s struggles, and there’s a little poem in the beginning that suggests this is a kind of ghost story.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Saga, Volume 5
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Purchased: June 6, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $7.35
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 5/31/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/24/17          The State of the Reader: 6/7/17–>

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 Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmburg: Kept/Purchased – Interesting enough to warrant a read.  The main character wants to work with steel, but her teacher informs her they don’t have enough paper magicians, so that’s where she’s going to apprentice.  It’s making me think of this anime that I’ve never seen, but I know is about a character who can manipulate   paper.  Read or Die, I think that’s the name of it?  Since the book was cheap on Kindle, I also purchased it.  I can never tell whether or not the price is static or on sale.
  2. Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw: Passed – This is going to sound awful, and lord knows I understand how frustrating market saturation is, but I just don’t feel like reading a story where the main character is a young man with a fated destiny.  If the writing had pulled me in, I’d probably consider it, but it wasn’t really my style.
  3. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones: Kept – I liked the language/writing style, so me keeping this seems counter to what I said above, because this one seems like a “young man with a fated destiny” story, too, but the focus seems to be more on his more talented, witchy sister.
  4. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: Kept – I’ve been only reading a page of two of my samples (unless they’re like Radiance and I can’t put it down) before I make my decision if I’m going to keep it, and this one about a talented young singer trying to live in the cold of her opera diva mother’s shadow seems worthy of my time.
  5. The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway: Kept – Again I only read a few pages of this, but I’ve read the author before under her other name Jan Siegel.  She wrote Prospero’s Children with that moniker, and I loved that series, so I’m sure I’ll find this novel more than adequate. Interesting…so I went to add the link for this, and I have the book on my TBR list twice: once under Jan Siegel and once under Amanda Hemingway.  Let me check Amazon to see what name she’s using…it’s under Hemingway so that’s what I’m going to keep.
  6. The Book of Earth by Marjorie B, Kellogg: Kept – The sleeping dragons keeping the balance instantly reminded me of Mother 3, though in that there was just one, but seven pins (or swords?) that you had to draw in order to awaken it.  I like the unconventional young noble lady, too, even though that’s a tried trope as well.
  7. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Kept (RWTR) – This book is everything I could ask for.  Fairy enchantment in a world where iPods exist.  I love the blending of either genres or when genres take place in non-traditional time periods (most people think of sword and sorcery or high fantasy that generally occurs in some medieval era), and the fact that there’s a mother so bad ass she not only figured out her baby was a changeling, but refused to give the fae child back when the fairy woman returned her own.
  8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow: Kept by Jessica Day George: Kept (RWTR) – I’d already had this on my really-want-to-read list.  I love stories about the dark, cold north (I mean my favorite story’s beginning and conclusion occurs in the north, and depending on how ASOIAF concludes, I may be double talking), and I love fairy tales.  This story does both.
  9. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst: Kept (RWTR) – I was surprised, but not upset to find this book takes place in more modern times where research teams are sent to the Arctic and snow mobiles exist.  Stories like this usually have the quality of disbelief for its characters in seeing magic happen before their eyes, so they share something with those who are reading the tale.  If this book and the prior had been less expensive, I would’ve bought them immediately.
  10. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau: Kept (RWTR) – This was one of those samples that only had a few pages, but I am beyond curious to know what’s going on with it.  It starts off with a prologue, which is always a risky move in any story, but it explains how 200 years ago, the builders of the eponymous city left instructions for the people, and they were supposed to be passed down through successive generations, held by the cities mayors, but one of the mayors was corrupted, took home the box the instructions were housed in, and tried to break it open with a hammer.  The sample stopped there, but I want to know why these builders said the people would have to say hidden for at least 200 years.  What the hell happened to the surface above?
  11. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon: Kept – Even though I’m worried this book might be a touch on the religious side (as in favoring one over the other), I’m still interested in what the daughter does with her mother’s gift.
  12. Adventure Begins by Colin Dann: Kept – So I actually downloaded a different book from the one I had on my TBR list.  I had The Animals of Farthing Wood there or something like that, but I think this one is the first in the series?  I’m not really sure, but since this is what I downloaded, and since it seems to be the first in a series, this is the one I’m going to keep.  Going by my rules of one author per book on my TBR list, I removed Animals for this.  The premise is interesting and definitely something I would’ve read in my younger days.  There’s a feud between the foxes and the otters, because the otters have encroached on the foxes’ hunting territory due to a shortage of fish in the stream.  This issue is further compounded by the fact that otters are rare in this part of England (?), so wherever they live has been declared a sanctuary by humans who won’t chop down and develop the wood due to their presence.  The otters know this and take advantage of it, so I’m curious how the foxes are going to resolve this dilemma.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Paper Magician
Series Title: The Paper Magician Trilogy
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Date Added: June 17, 2016
Date Purchased: May 25, 2017

Paper Magician, The

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.50
Retailer: Amazon

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