The State of the Reader: 3/27/19

<–The State of the Reader: 3/13/19         The State of the Reader: 4/10/19–>

A weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Obtained: 1


Books Finished: 0


Currently Reading

Title: Leviathan Wakes
Series Title: The Expanse
Author: James S. A. Corey
Date Added: June 6, 2018
Date Started: February 19, 2019

Leviathan Wakes coverMedia: eBook/Kindle
Progress: 76%

This is one of those books I almost DNFed, but I’m so glad I didn’t.  The shit hit the fan, and while the degree is astronomical, it’s nothing that humans haven’t done before.  Grimdark in space this might be, but it’s the same old shit we’ve been doing to each other for millennium.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Talon by Julie Kagawa (Talon #1)

Title: Talon
Series Title: Talon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Date Added: May 24, 2016
Date Started: June 10, 2017
Date Finished: July 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 21 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Young Adult (YA)

Pages: 449
Publication Date: October 28, 2014
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Media: eBook/Kindle
Goodreads Rating: 3.77


Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they’re positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon’s newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember’s bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.


The core of Talon lies in two disparate institutions: the titular one and the Order of St. George.  Despite each’s animosity towards the other (or more likely, because of it), both Talon, the organization for dragons, and the one for their hunters deal in indoctrination, intimidation, lies, and half-truths.

With the threat of St. George constantly on their tails, dragons have had to find more covert ways to survive.  They hide in human form and teach their hatchlings not only how to assimilate, but also prepare and train them in ways best suited for Talon and all of dragonkind.  Unfortunately, the hatchlings have no say whatsoever in what their occupation might be.  They have no say in their life at all and are granted just one summer, where they test their assimilation skills, to live the semblance of a teenage normalcy.

This is the world twins Ember and Dante Hill are born into.  Ember is clearly the more “fiery” of the two, and it was pretty obvious she’d be the one to flaunt and eventually break the rules.  Her brother Dante has a cooler and more collected nature, which both Talon and the guardians the institution assigns to them hope will temper Ember’s flame.

Continue reading

The State of the Writer: 8/20/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/13/17          The State of the Writer: 8/27/17–.

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: 266,548
Prior Word Count: 266,752
Word Difference: -204
Status: Editing
Progress: Reviewing Chapter 11

This is the second “letter” chapter (with Chapter 5 being the first), but as I was doing my preliminaries last night, I ran into an integral question.  Is this chapter necessary?  With writing or more specifically editing, that’s something you always want to ask.  Is this chapter/part necessary to the story?  Is it needed to further your and therefore the characters’ goal(s)?

My idea with the letter chapters was to show the past, present, and future through Aeris’s eyes.  The first letter is all about her horrible past and her struggles to reconcile it with the wonderful present.  There are ideas of worthiness and blame she has to wrestle with along with a sort of survivor’s guilt.  She was saved from that horrendous existence, but she can’t stop thinking about those who are still suffering, and that’s tearing her up inside.  She wonders why she was worthy to be rescued when she could physically “take” the worst kinds of abuse, because she’d just come back, but others would actually die.

Continue reading

The State of the Writer: 8/13/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

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: 266,752
Prior Word Count: 266,754
Word Difference: -2
Status: Posting Chapter 10
Progress: Posted to WP

The process of posting can be as arduous as the process of editing.  I’ve posted Chapter 10 here, as I’m sure some of you have seen (if not I linked it), but I still have three other sites to replicate that on, all with different nuances of method.  I’ll try to get it up on AO3 tonight, since that’s the easiest one.  I’d say the hardest is Deviant Art, since tumblr’s made some updates so I don’t have to go through and add italics any more after I copy and paste, but DevArt is all HTML coding, which I’ve become quite adept at.  The easiest thing to do is switch to HTML on WordPress and copy/paste from there.  Unfortunately, DA has an unknown character limit, so you have to estimate how much you can post.  I’ll have to split this chapter into at least two due to its length.  Once it’s posted where it needs to be, I’ll start editing the next chapter.

Oh!  I also fixed the image for Chapter 9.  How I missed this in my reviews I don’t know, but the words were “Chapter 10 Excursion” instead of Chapter 9 *facepalm*  I’d post a picture of it so you could see what I meant specifically, but it looks like I deleted it entirely.

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (which I DNF) yesterday.  Seems like I’m posting one review a week.  I want to up that. I did post a mini-review of sorts for Tales of the Arabian Nights on Goodreads, which I wasn’t going to do, but some of the reviews I saw for it pissed me off, so it was more of a review response than an actual review.  I talk about this more and in fact copied what I wrote in my upcoming State of the Reader.

The current and upcoming list is as follows:

  1. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  2. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  3. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  4. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  5. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  6. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  7. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  8. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  9. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  10. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  11. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  12. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  13. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson & Brittney Williams

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 1071
Current
Word Count: 1738
Word Difference: +667
Status: Drafting

Just completed some work on the review right before this update.  I’m in story summary mode, which I always have a dilemma with.  Do I summarize and analyze concurrently or do I save the latter for afterwards?  I usually settle on a happy medium: I’m bringing up questions and ideas in the summary that I’ll explore in a thorough analysis afterwards.

What’s also difficult is triangulating all of my information sources.  Neither Wikipedia nor the SOMA wiki adequately recount the story to my liking, but I need some plot point reminders, just enough to spark my memory.  I don’t recall the order of everything, and a lot of the timeline pages I’ve found paint with too broad of a brush, missing some seemingly minor but integral elements e.g. Carl, first encounter with a WAU node, etc., and I think they order the events differently, though I’m less concerned about that as I am missing something vital. This is going to be a long term review project that I might slate for finish the first two weeks of September when I’m on vacation.


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: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

Save

Save

Save

The State of the Writer: 8/6/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

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: 266,754
Prior Word Count: 266,907
Word Difference: -153
Status: Prepping to post Chapter 10
Progress: Preliminary review

Editing Date Started: May 14, 2017
Editing Date Finished: August 6, 2017
Editing Duration: 84 days

After 84 days, I’m finally finished the edit of this chapter…at least I hope I am.  I completed the fourth edit this afternoon/evening right before drafting and posting this, but I still want to do a breeze through to check the pacing, because I’m still not entirely sure about that.  This…was a tough chapter to edit, and it’s really funny how the length of a chapter has little to do with the difficulty.  I’m sure there were longer chapters prior to this that didn’t take nearly as long, as I’m almost certain this was the longest editing duration so far.  The cover image is already prepped with words and all, so the next scheduled editing session should consist of that pacing check, and once I’m satisfied that none of you will be too bored with it, I’ll post Chapter 10.

FYI this week’s picture is exactly how I see their height differential.  Hell, she could possibly be standing on her toes and still be that petite.  It’s a minor pet peeve, but I can’t imagine the Great General being short, and I know I’ve probably beaten this horse long dead, but this was my main disappointment with my commissioned picture.

Quote: “Little flower, this world belongs to you, and your life will be wonderful.”


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for An Ember in the Ashes yesterday evening so I’m down one review, but I also just finished the Zelda manga I was reading, so there’s another.  I’m just going to look at my book reviews as yet another endless task *shrug* I am going to review Never Never in one post not three, so that cuts it down a bit.

  1. Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (DNF)
  2. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  3. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  4. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  5. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  6. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  7. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  8. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  9. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  10. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  11. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  12. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  13. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 551
Current Word Count: 1071
Word Difference: +520
Status: Drafting

I made it to the “game proper” in my Story part (you’ll understand what that means when you read it), and like most of my reviews, a ton of revelations came flooding my way as I’m working on it.  There are a lot of things that don’t add up, and while they could be errors on the developers’ part, SOMA seems too well done for all of the inconsistencies to be due to that alone.  I’m starting to wonder if my first thought about it was correct, even though it’s never confirmed and could definitely be argued.  It’s similar to the plot of the Futurama episode “Obsoletely Fabulous,” where Bender receives an upgrade.  While obviously the show plays itself for laughs, there’s a definite “Reality is what you make of it” motif in the mix.


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: 7/30/17          The State of the Writer: 8/13/17–>

Save

Save

The State of the Writer: 7/30/17

<–The State of the Writer: 7/23/17          The State of the Writer: 8/6/17–>

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: 266,907
Prior Word Count: 267,081
Word Difference: -174
Status: Editing
Progress: 4th edit

I know I used this picture for Chapter 6 of Northern Lights, but it goes well with this week’s quote, and I’m running dry on image ideas since I’m well into my third month of and 4th editing adventure.

I think I can say this edit will be the last full one.  I kind of do want to really scrutinize the content of this chapter, since it still seems a bit long-winded, but at the very least I’ll be deleting edited words *rolls eyes*

Quote: *I…answered her prayers,* he realized in rue.  *I’m what she was begging for.* He blinked several times, staring down at the terrified maid in his arms.  

Continue reading