The State of the Reader: 8/16/17

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

A weekly post updated every Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and where I am with them in addition to what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads to make it easier for interested parties to add any books that might strike their fancy.  I attempt to use the covers for the edition I’m reading, and I’ll mention if this is not the case.  If you have a Goodreads account feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Samples Read This Week

  1. The Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser-Hallard: Kept – Arthurian Knights in the modern day with modern technology doing what they do best.  Certain types of urban fantasy are growing on me.  I like the speculation of how classic fantasy characters and tropes would look with modern technology.  It was also inexpensive, so I now have it on Kindle.
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Kept – I hoping this psychological thriller is more satisfying than the last one I read.
  3. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold: Passed – It just didn’t grab me.
  4. One by Sarah Crossan: Kept (RWTR) – I had no idea this was written in free verse lending it a lovely poetic air.  I was already interesting in it for it’s subject matter (conjoined twin sisters), though I have a feeling I’m going to be a bawling mess by the end.
  5. Dweller by Jeff Strand: Kept (RWTR) – Gripping from the very first sentence, and the monster (or monsters) from the blurb are clearly sentient.  At only $2.99 I had to buy it.
  6. Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory: Kept – This has been a week of cheap samples.  I keep reading samples for books that are really inexpensive on Amazon.  This is a zombie story with a twist (of course, since zombie stories are old news now).  The Mayhall family finds the body of a pregnant teenager with a seemingly dead baby, but though the child has no pulse, he appears to be “alive.”  They hide the child from the authorities who will kill him (sounds similar to The Last of Us), keeping his existence a secret until circumstances force the boy, whom they name Stony, to run.  This is the second Daryl Gregory book I’ll have read, the first being The Devil’s Alphabet, which had a great deal of potential, but was ultimately disappointing.  I hope Raising Stony Mayhall doesn’t fall into the same trap.
  7. The Children of Húrin by Christopher Tolkien: Kept – This was one of those books that had too much introduction, so I didn’t actually get to read any of it, but it’s the work of J. R. R. Tolkien edited by his son, so I have high hopes.  I was also able to borrow it on Amazon Prime.  Apparently, you can do that with some books with the limit being ten at a time.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: The Pendragon Protocol
Series Title: The Devices Trilogy
Author: Philip Purser-Hallard
Date Added: January 15, 2017
Date Purchased: August 10, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.95
Retailer: Amazon

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 3/29/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/22/17          The State of the Reader: 4/5/17–>

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: 7

  1. Akarnae by Lynette Noni: Kept – I was a bit wary at first, because it started off a little too YA for my liking (especially in terms of unfortunately typical adolescent bullying), but the great writing kept me going, and then when the main character stepped through that strange door, I realized I was really interested in what would happen.  It’s also a book a fellow WP blogger/writer, and I always want to support people like that!
  2. Swordspoint by Ellen Kushner: Passed – Though it was touted as a clever, humorous fantasy, it just didn’t hold my interest.  I’m quite disappointed because there’s apparently a paradigm in the story about how the line between villain and hero can be altered in the blink of an eye, and I love things like that.  None of the characters grabbed me though, and while I’m usually a huge fan of assassins, there wasn’t enough background for me to really latch onto.
  3. Fire at Dawn by Ed Ireland: Passed – It just didn’t engage me.  The novel starts out with a character running from orcs, which I’m okay with in terms of borrowing from Tolkien; however, the dialogue seemed almost juvenile, so maybe this was geared more towards a mid-grade/YA audience?  Either way, it wasn’t for me.
  4. Fall from Grace by J. Edward Ritchie: Passed – I’m very picky and particular about my angels, and this book seems to be written for people who know little to nothing about them.  The fact the author italicized that the two main characters were seraphim with six wings (this is literally what he did) led me to this conclusion.  It’s also about a war in heaven where (of course) sides are chosen, and one of the mains is named Satanail.  I’m okay with some predictability, and it’s possible I’m wrong and the other MC Michael is the one who turns to the dark side, but I also wasn’t too keen on the angels’ aesthetic either.  Like I said, I’m picky about my angels, and before that thought can solidify in your head, understand that there are quite a few types that I find acceptable.  Example:

Totally acceptable aesthetic

Picture Source: 2010118 by feimo

  1. If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch: Kept (RWTR) – I’m noticing a pattern as I download and read through samples.  I almost know right from the first page if I’m going to keep it and if it’s going to be in the “really want to read” category.  I also know if I’m going to pass on it.  This book “broke” an accent rule.  A recent writing tip I read stated that you shouldn’t write out accents.  If You Find Me breaks it a little with having the narrator Carey speak in a way where she leaves off her “g’s.”  It makes sense though since she and her sister are living in the woods of Tennessee, and it draws you more into the story rather than out of it.  If I know I’m going to keep a book on my TBR list, I usually stop reading the sample so that I’m not going too far into the novel, but with this I read until the end and wished there was more.  There is something extremely heartbreaking about the plight of Carey and her little sister,, abandoned by their mentally ill, drug addicted mom and more than likely abused by their dad (which is probably why the mom left him ten years ago in the first place).  This is also not my typical fantasy fare, but it may be finding its way onto my Kindle very soon.
  2. The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov: Kept (Library) – I really hate when samples have long introductions/forewords, and the sample ends before you really get out of those sections.  That’s what happened with this book, so I really didn’t get to read much of the story proper.  I decided to keep it, but put it onto my Library shelf, since I don’t know enough about it to warrant spending money, but for the same reason, I still want to give it a chance.
  3. Frostfire by Amanda Hocking: Kept (RWTR) – I already had this on my really-want-to-read list, and there it shall remain.  I was a little confused what kind of people these were when the main character said that they were allowed “human music and movies,” but the blurb revealed they’re trolls, and I thought it was cool that it seems to take place in a modern era where trolls (and probably other beings) coexist alongside humans.  I also totally called the villain of this story.  He was introduced in the sample and was portrayed as an attractive member of the elite guard that the main character looked up to.  Uh-huh.  I’m not going to give away what happened next, but I was very unsurprised.  This doesn’t diminish me desire to read this book in the slightest though.  I’m too well versed in fantasy tropes to be consistently surprised, and I actually like when I’m right so long as the trope is used well.

Books Purchased This Week: 1

Title: Red Queen
Series: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Date Added: January 6, 2016
Date Purchased: March 24, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $8.79
Retailer: Target

Books Currently Reading: 5

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

Media: Paperback
Progress: 21%

There’s a brilliant commentary on the paradox of not wanting to conform, but also not wanting to fall into the trap of the non-conformist, which is another type of conformity.  It’s something very relevant to the age group Jitty, Hazel, and crew belong to, but the Era of Chaos has just begun.

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: 57%

It happened.  The part in the book where the title is said, and the speaker of it is revealed.  I was not expecting those words to come from that source, and I actually went over my typical one chapter for the day because it ended right when something extremely interesting occurred.  I want to know what “Blue Lily…” has to do with Blue’s character.  Is she the blue lily?  Is Lily going to be her secret middle name?  There’s still nearly half a book left to get through.

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

Media: Kindle
Progress: 90%

The delineation of the typical three acts are quite sharp in this novel.  The first part is when the boys discover the eponymous door; the second is when they go through it; and the third is when they need to return something that came through to our world to the other.  There are obviously other considerations, but it’s a rare few stories that so clearly define their three acts.

Hm, this is making me want to make a post about the three acts in other stories…

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: 47%

I think I’m one (or maybe two) chapters away from finishing the first part of this.  The chapter I’m on now is discussing string theory, and I…kind of get it.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 81%

I officially cannot stand any of the main characters in this section/branch.  All of them are terrible.  There’s Gwydion who helped his brother assault his uncle’s footholder (his uncle, the king) then he tricked the King of Dyved into giving up his swine herd, and when the rival king obviously sought retribution, him and all of his men were killed in what was considered “fair” battle, but really Gwydion just tricked him again.  He has no qualms about using his powers to manipulate people, and he’s supposed to be the king after his uncle Math who is the only decent character in this part.  Then there’s Arianrhod, Gwydion’s sister.  She lied about having relations with men and attempted to be the king’s new footholder (only virgins are allowed to do it…I could say a lot about the concept of virginity, but we’ll let that slide), so when Math tested her, she not only failed, but actually gave birth right then and there (mythology is weird).  That child swam away, but somehow or another, Gwydion got another child from her prematurely and kept it in a box, but when he presented this son to Arianrhod, she utterly rejected her own child.  Oh, and this woman also blamed the footholder for getting her brothers in trouble #fuming  I suppose it’s better that the reprehensible characters were saved for the end since I might have given up reading this had they been the forerunners.

Fanfictions Finished: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 2

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

No updates for this one.  I still need to check her tumblr.  I really haven’t been on that site except to answer messages from people.

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

I read two chapters last time I had a chance to do so, but I missed my Monday reading (I think I have this on my planner for Mondays and Thursdays).  They were hard to read due to some terrible things that happened (which means the writing is fantastic).  I abhor religious zealots.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 5

Title: Bull
Author: David Elliott
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

Kim and I had a nice discussion about myth retellings in the comments of her review post.  Mary Renault’s The King Must Die and its sequel The Bull from the Sea are probably my favorite ones.  I love the way she writes.  I’ve read The Last of the Wine, too, which is about two Athenian youths who are best friends, and Fire from Heaven, the first in her Alexander the Great series is on my TBR list.  Suffice it to say, I have a fondness for retellings.

With Bull, I love the implied crassness in the title.  Plus I’m a Taurus, so anything concerning bulls always has the opportunity for that parallel.  The novel is also written in verse, which puts me in the mind of Paradise Lost, but David Elliott’s work is much more tongue-in-cheek.  Either way, it’s worth a (sample) read.

Title: The Gathering
Series Title: Darkness Rising
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

Because I passed on Anne Bishop’s Written in Blood last week, Kim decided she was going to recommend some YA books I might enjoy.  I do enjoy some (in fact, I really should stop saying I don’t; I’m just particular when it comes to writing style), but I’m always game for recommendations!  While the main character Maya claims she’s ordinary, save for an odd paw print birthmark on her hip, the cover certainly has a mystical cast to it, an almost James Cameron Avatar vibe to be honest.  That’s more than likely due to the blue that’s supposed to imply night, but the dangling earring in her ear doesn’t help diminish this assessment.

Title: Dead Witch Walking
Series Title: The Hollows
Author: Kim Harrison
Date Added: March 23, 2017
Recommended by: By Hook or By Book

I swore I already had Kim Harrison on my TBR list, but apparently I didn’t.  Her name sounds really familiar, and I think my writer BFF has probably mentioned her a few times.  I know I’ve been in discussions about her writing before.  Anyway…this is the other YA book Kim from By Hook or By Book recommended.  It’s also an urban fantasy so I’m cautiously optimistic.

Title: Waiting for Godot
Author: Samuel Beckett
Date Added: March 24, 2017

I should’ve added this years ago when I randomly read something about how Yuffie’s father (from FFVII) was named after Godot, the absent character.  I think his name sounds close to it (is it Gogo?  Am I thinking of the mimic from FFVI or do they share a name?), but it’s a minor detail I don’t remember (it doesn’t concern Sephiroth, so it probably was replaced by something else).  Either way, it’s a play I should’ve read a long time ago, regardless of its connections with VII.

Title: The Spirit Within
Author: Sheila Renee Parker
Date Added: March 25, 2017

One of my recent follows is the author of this book.  I always try to check out my blog follower’s pages to see if we’ve like minded interests in our posts, and I’m almost guaranteed to follow any author.  Though the book’s title reminds me of the lackluster Final Fantasy movie, it seems anything but.  A tale of dealing with an abusive relationship with a supernatural twist, I’m quite excited to see what unfolds (yes, that was supposed to be a flower pun because of the cover).

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 443
Change from Last Week: +1

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: 3/22/17          The State of the Reader: 4/5/17–>