The Goodreads Book Tag 2

I still have a ton of blogger tags/awards to get through, and I can’t even claim to be doing them in order.  Today this is the one I’m awake/aware enough to go through, so…

First, I found this on The Writing Hufflepuff’s blog so you should check her out.  She does book reviews mostly and her blog is just set up really neatly.  I use Goodreads a ton, so this is the perfect tag for me.  Please feel free to friend me there if you use it, too!

What was the last book you marked as read?

The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh.  I just finished reading it this morning.  Such an excellent mid-grade novel.  I’ve also read and reviewedThe Quantum Door, which was good, too, but Ghost was even better.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently reading six books, but that number will probably jump back up to seven before I post my State of the Reader update this Wednesday:

  1. Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples
  2. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  3. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  4. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Patrick Thorpe
  5. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  6. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous

What was the last book you marked as ‘to read’?

Primitive Mythology by Joseph Cambell, the fist book in his Masks of God series.  I initially had The Power of Myth on there in its stead, but a friend told me that I could just watch the interviews with Bill Moyers, so I threw that on my Amazon wish list.

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Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplighter (Prospero’s Daughter #1) (DNF)

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Unfinished: March 18, 2017
Reading Duration: 35 days
Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 352
Publication Date:
August 14, 2009
Publisher: Tor Books
Media:
Hardback
Progress: 38%/135 pages

More than four hundred years after the events of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, the sorcerer Prospero, his daughter Miranda, and his other children have attained everlasting life. Miranda is the head of her family’s business, Prospero Inc., which secretly has used its magic for good around the world. One day, Miranda receives a warning from her father: “Beware of the Three Shadowed Ones.” When Miranda goes to her father for an explanation, he is nowhere to be found.

Miranda sets out to find her father and reunite with her estranged siblings, each of which holds a staff of power and secrets about Miranda’s sometimes-foggy past. Her journey through the past, present and future will take her to Venice, Chicago, the Caribbean, Washington, D.C., and the North Pole. To aid her, Miranda brings along Mab, an aerie being who acts like a hard-boiled detective, and Mephistopheles, her mentally-unbalanced brother. Together, they must ward off the Shadowed Ones and other ancient demons who want Prospero’s power for their own….


It’s well known I’m in love with the works of Shakespeare, though I haven’t yet read The Tempest this is based on.  Miranda and co not only inspired The Bard in the world of Prospero Lost, but they use the play as a mythology to in which to conceal themselves.  Since people believe Shakespeare made it up, the information therein is obfuscated by fable, and Prospero Inc., the family company, is allowed to do its good works unhindered.

The main character Miranda, her father Prospero, and most of her siblings are immortal and have been alive for 500 years, aided by the power of magic staffs the sorcerer crafted.  Of course like most magical objects, they’re coveted and sought after by nefarious agents, in this case the Shadowed Ones who are more than likely the cause of Prospero’s disappearance.  This is the catalyst for the story that sends Miranda on a worldwide search with only her mentally unstable brother Mephistopheles and her aerie servant Mab for company and succor.

The concept behind this story is interesting, but one of the major issues with the novel is how much is introduced.  Since the Prospero family has been prosperous (I’m not sorry) for 500 or so years, there’s a great deal of history there, and the author attempts to reveal it in exposition throughout.  However, this occurs as dreaded info dumps that take you out of the mise en scene far too often.  I’m usually okay with exposition/author explanation, but it was so egregious and long-winded in this case.  There’s obviously a huge history there, but the way it’s presented is it too haphazard and random.  Miranda will start to ponder something that happened in the far past for several paragraphs, and it messes with the flow of the story.  Ms. Lamplighter also uses exclamation points a bit too liberally.

I also wish there’d been more about the company, Prospero Inc., and the work they do in it rather than just brief mentions and exposition.  The blurb states that they use their magic for the good of the world, but there were no examples of this in the novel itself.  It’s another example of showing instead of telling.

Despite this I didn’t declare this DNF due to dislike, but rather because it wasn’t quite holding my interest at the time.  I’m hoping to finish it at some point in the future, as there were numerous plot points introduced that I’m curious about.  The author also did a great job differentiating the siblings (that were introduced), which can be a daunting task when you have multiple ones.

I may read Shakespeare’s The Tempest before I return, since it relies heavily on that narrative and having it in my mental lexicon might make the beat points in Prospero Lost more pronounced, easier to digest, and I may be more forgiving towards the extensive exposition.

No rating for this since it’s Unfinished and I intend to remedy that one day.  I do have a rating in mind (as I usually do with most novels by the time I get to a certain point), but I’ll leave it until such time as it’s complete.

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The State of the Reader: 3/22/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/29/17–>

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 Unfinished This Week: 1

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017
Date Unfinished: March 13, 2017
Reading Duration: 30 days

Media: Hardback
Final Progress: 38%; Page 135

Before I talk about the status of this book, I should first explain the “Unfinished” status.  It’s different from “Did Not Finish/DNF.”  I used to call my DNF books “Unfinished” (I know, hella confusing), but I decided to differentiate.  DNF means I have absolutely no interest in finishing the book.  It was either not for me and/or I found the writing not up to par; and it’s likely not a book I’m ever going to pick up again.

Conversely, “Unfinished” consists of books I either didn’t finish for reasons that have less to do with their quality or books I’m setting aside for the time being.  Prospero Lost falls into the latter camp.  It’s not a bad book by any means, but it’s not really holding my attention as hard as something else might right now, and I have so many books to read.  I may come back to it at a later time, but I do intend to write an Unfinished review at some point in the near future..  I need to buy more bookmarks …

So as suggested last week, I’m going to shelf Prospero Lost for the time being and move onto the next book on the fantasy/sci-fi/general fiction shelf.


Samples Read This Week: 7

  1. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo: Kept (RWTR) – This book starts off so strong and intriguing and also has one of my favorite elements: mental manipulation/mind control.  The first chapter lures you in with the lovelorn plight of a lonely guard then it utterly blows you away with the unexpected.
  2. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit do I really want to read this.  It has FFVII, Hunger Games, and Mistborn all over it.  The elite, ruling class literally has silver blood (Silver…Elite ahhhh!) whereas the lower class has common, red blood.  The main character Mare has a voice similar to Katniss, and she and her people are as downtrodden as Mistborn’s skaa.  While I didn’t finish Sanderson’s series for various reasons, I still loved the idea behind it, the detail, and the world building so books that contain similar themes are of interest to me.
  3. Ratha’s Creature by Clare Bell: Kept – I grew up reading animal based fiction/fantasy (e.g. Watership Down, Tailchaser’s Song, Fantastic Mr. Fox, etc.) and was introduced to this story through an 80s/early 90s cartoon CBS Story Break.  The writing reminds me of what I grew up with, so there’s a definite nostalgia factor involved.
  4. Written in Blood by Anne Bishop: Passed – This book has a 4.30 rating, and I thoroughly enjoyed Ms. Bishops Black Jewels Trilogy in high school, but this book just didn’t do much for me.  I’m pretty sure it’s because it’s urban fantasy, and I’m really hard to please in that department.
  5. Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil: Kept (RWTR) – This book throws you right into the fray or should I say flood.  The opening line is gut wrenching, since the catalyst for the story has already happened, and the main character is recounting how everything occurred.
  6. Chime by Frannie Billingsly: Passed – While I loved the fairy tale aspect and the slight subversion with the dead stepmother (as opposed to dead mother), the writing just wasn’t for me.  The main character liked to double back on her sentences and almost seem like she was speaking to the reader, and it was jarring and took me a bit out of the story.  I also found out that this could be considered urban fantasy, so that’s another strike.
  7. Consider Phelbas by Iain Banks: Kept (RWTR) – This is a sci-fi novel written almost poetically.  It has more of a fantasy flare to it, which I really like.  I’m a fan of what I used to call sci-fi/fantasy fusion, which I found is already been named science fantasy.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: The Golden Bough
Author: James George Frazer
Date Added: February 21, 2012
Date Purchased: March 17, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $0.00
Retailer: Amazon

There’s nothing cheaper than something free, and this is a book I’ve wanted for years.  I may still pick up a hard copy, because I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do the combination of reference and Kindle (I usually have fantasy/sci-fi/general fiction on there), but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Date Added: March 13, 2017

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


Books Currently Reading: 5

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

Media: Paperback
Progress: 8%

I love the taste of the words.  They’re random, scattered, and deliciously mad, yet they weave the lives before you in such brazen relief.  The narrative doesn’t have just one direction; it has all directions dependent on which way the characters, the carriers of it, decide to go.  It’s equal parts worrisome (to the outside observer and stodgy adult) and equal parts devil may care.

I’ve seen a paltry few shows about British teens (the only one coming to mind right now is The Misfits), and I have to agree with the assessment by Roll Magazine on the back cover that standard portrayals of their American counterparts are tame/genteel in comparison.  I’m looking forward to where Jitty and gang take me.

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: 38%

Speaking of American teens hehe.  Blue and crew are much tamer in comparison to the fore mentioned, but what they’re seeking is more than wild.  This installment seems to be focusing more on Gansey and her, which makes sense since that’s how it all started (plus the title does heavily suggest she’ll be center stage).

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

Media: Kindle
Progress: 71%

I’m really curious what the final act of this novel is going to bring.  The main concern of the first two parts was solved, but then something else happened at the end of second.  The book has been very stingy in showing us what’s really going on.  Why is there a quantum door in the first place?  How is that other world connected with our own?  Why is the nature of that world what it is?  Are there other worlds?  And more questions that would be spoilerific to post here.

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: 45%

The latest chapter was on time travel, which Professor Hawking has some doubts on.  He brought up the question of “If time travel is possible, why hasn’t anyone from the future come back to visit us?”  He went over the idea that it might be highly regulated, but humans will always be what they are, and it’s highly likely that someone would slip through the cracks.  It’s possible that time travelers are among us, and we just don’t know about.  They’re either good at keeping the secret or more likely if they told anyone in this time, they wouldn’t believe them anyway.  Maybe that’s the real paradox.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 76%

I officially like the third section of this compendium the least.  The main character is the least likable and the most dastardly and selfish.  It’s hard to come back from aiding and abetting your brother in such a heinous crime, and even after the siblings were punished (more or less duly), they still showed little remorse for what they put that poor maiden through.  There’s also a creep factor in that Gwydion proposed marriage to his own sister (ugh and ew) to which she wasn’t really disgusted, but rather just said the New Tribes didn’t like it.  Granted, I love ASOIAF so this shouldn’t be too out of sorts for me, but it’s still super icky.  The sister Arianrhod isn’t that much of a treat either.  When she came to the court, she did the whole “it’s the victim’s fault for getting my brothers in trouble” thing, and I wanted to pull out all of her hair.  It’s really interesting how the first two parts had main characters of honor and grace where this part you really can’t sympathize with them, and you hope they get an eternal comeuppance.


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 update from RM, but I need to hop on tumblr to check out the pics from PAX East she said she’d post 🙂

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

I read Chapter 2 last night, and oh my god…it’s so well written.  It doesn’t even matter that I haven’t played Dragon Age and I’m not that familiar with the culture of the Dahlish elves.  I could learn about it from Athene’s story.  Words from their language is seamlessly woven in, and even though there’s a glossary at the end of each chapter, it’s really not that hard to figure out the gist of the words.  I  may try to read two chapters a session so I can catch up.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 1

Title: The Vagrant
Series Title: The Vagrant
Author: Peter Newman
Date Added: March 20, 2017

This came up as a recommendation after I bought Silent Child.  The blurb was a bit more elaborate on Amazon.  It mentioned seraph defenders and something else angelic, but even the shorter blurb on GR would’ve been sufficient for me to add.  The nameless protagonist carries a legendary sword and a baby, and that’s too odd of a combination for me to pass this up.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 442
Change from Last Week: -7


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: 3/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/29/17–>

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The State of the Writer: 3/19/17

<–The State of the Writer: 3/12/17          The State of the Writer: 3/26/17–>

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: 270,139
Prior Word Count: 270, 123
Word Difference: +16
Status: Editing
Progress: Prepping to post Chapter 8
Editing Duration: 43 days

I finished the chapter edit early this morning.  I did one of my famous weekend “stay up until 5:00” again fueled by coffee and I suppose a little motivation.  I also went back through some of the earlier chapters (again…) to update a few things.  I need to repost those chapters, which is only a real pain in the ass on Deviant Art where some of them have been split into two due to length.

I keep coming up with new ideas for this AU I’m writing in, and I want certain things to be consistent.  In all honesty, there’s kind of two AUs.  Northern Lights takes place in one, and The Broken Rose takes place in a similar one, but it splits off in terms of whether or not Sephiroth went to Midgar because the threat of Jenova was still present.  If he does, he meets up and rescues Aeris at the time he does in NL, but if he doesn’t, the situation in TBR occurs.  So…ironically, it’s the threat of Jenova that saves Aeris from the horrible fate she suffers in The Broken Rose.  I don’t even plan these ironies; they just sometimes happen.  Granted though, the “pull” he feels in NL is ambiguous and could have had more to do with Aeris than an eldritch abomination, and even if it were the latter, it was more of a “seek and destroy the thing that ruined my life” rather than “fall under its sway” again.

Some lovely person sent me a flattering note on Fanfiction.net asking me about a sequel to Northern Lights, and I promised them that I have more ideas in the works, some within the AUs I’ve already created and some in other what-if situations.  They were very interested in Aeriseph babies, which I assured them I’d not only been thinking about, but had taken extensive notes on.  I have no plans to leave the Aeriseph fanfiction world anytime soon 🙂

Plans are to post Chapter 8 on here and AOC some time today and then get to the other sites some time this week.  It only makes sense the quote for this week should be the first paragraph.

Quote: Aeris awoke always with the thought, *It’s been forty-three days since I was last raped and beaten.*  It called soft tears that she wiped away, as she prayed again that this was no dream.  She stepped in her shower, though small hands still trembled running over the tableau of scars.  Afterwards robed, amidst soft, drying chestnut, she entered her bright, walk-in closet.  Ever and always the maid bled awe that this luxury was now her life.  She swallowed spare tears before they could sting then climbed the ladder to reach a high shelf.


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Prospero Lost
Status: Planning

I have an “unfinished” review to write for this.  It should be fairly brief, and I’ll try to get to it sometime this week.


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: 3/12/17          The State of the Writer: 3/26/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 3/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/8/17          The State of the Reader: 3/22/17–>

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: 1

Title: Men of Greywater Station
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Added: March 14, 2017
Date Started: March 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 14, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction

Media: Online
Publication Date: June 1976
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 29

I decided to read this yesterday after listening to Preston Jacobs’s review of another GRRM short story (which is why it was never on my TBR or Currently Reading lists), the name of which I can’t recall now.  Preston’s review of Greywater is right here though for the interested, and the link to the story itself is above (just click “Online”).  It was a quick read at only 29 pages.  There are also links to listen to the audio or read the short on Preston’s review, which is how I was able to do so.

I’m not going to write a review of it since I linked to Preston’s more than serviceable one, but I will say that I correctly guessed what was really going on.  I’m becoming used to the paradigms Martin uses.  Like most authors he falls into a pattern and recycles his own motifs.  I have absolutely no problem with this as a writer who does the same.  I truly believe that GRRM has already “given away” the ending of Song in his prior tales.  It’s just the matter of divining how to put the pieces together.  Martin is an extremely subtle writer, and he requires a bit of intelligence and introspection from his readers.  He’s not just going to give you the answer or lay the meaning bare.  Rather, he’s going to make you dig for it and question it even after you’re certain you know the truth (it reminds me of a certain game I love).

Speaking of which (symbolically), I’m almost certain that one of Dany’s dragons is going to be injured in a way to lose a wing, and I’m saying that because Martin has done this before.  Literally in The Ice Dragon and metaphorically in Windhaven (one of the parts is literally called “One-Wing”).  As mentioned above, Martin recycles motifs, and reading his short stories, you see similar paradigms as the ones in Song;: hive-minded, mind controlling entities, civilizations existing after some great cataclysm, portents from the sky that are actual spaceships/aliens, humans usurping the land from the original inhabitants, etc. (okay…this is not to beat a dead horse, but all of these things are also paradigms in FFVII.in some way.  The civilization after a cataclysm fits if you look at all of the games as on one timeline and remember what happened in FFVI.  That’s all I’m going to say about this for now, since the plans to write those essays are still go).  This is my only original prediction for Song’s seventh season (omg…).  All the other ones I prescribe to were created by righteous others.


Samples Read This Week: 5

  1. Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett: Kept – It starts off in a bar and introduces questions, issues, and a potential supernatural bar fight, which is enough to keep me interested.  Nor can I forget that I found this through one of Kim’s (or By Hook or By Book) reviews!
  2. Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks Kept – The main character’s name is Sepora who’s fleeing a father who wants to exploit her special abilities.  Huh.  This was another one I found due to Kim 🙂
  3. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Kept – This was recommended to me a while ago by the lovely writer of The Ink Garden.  The writing is lush and brilliant, and the opening chapter entices you into a world of secrets and intrigue.
  4. The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker: Kept/RWTR – Not only did I keep this, I put it on my really-want-to-read bookshelf (RWTR).  The beginning is brutal in showcasing the realities of war, exile, and the diseases and depravities that almost always follow.  Raw and beautiful is one of my favorite styles of writing (it’s what I try to emulate).
  5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Kept/RWTR – Give me stories based on fairy tales any day of the week.  There’s also a Song parallel in the description of the character Frost as a “blue-eyed winter demon,” especially considering he’s the king of winter (common paradigms are common).  It’s odd though.  This is another story based on Vasilisa the Beautiful, the same as Vassa in the Night, which I didn’t finish.  The writing in Bear/Nightingale is so much more lush and atmospheric than Vassa.  Plus it’s not an urban fantasy or YA.

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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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The State of the Reader: 3/1/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/22/17          The State of the Reader: 3/8/17–>

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 Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Series Title: Stoker and Holmes
Author: Colleen Gleason
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: February 21, 2017
Date Declared DNF: February 24, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days

Media: Kindle
Progress: 11%

It seems like a record at only three days to declare DNF, but I started skimming around 7% progress so I knew that was a bad sign.  This is not a bad book though.  It’s well-written and witty with Miss Holmes (the narrator) as a crisp, clever voice.  It just didn’t tickle my fancy, because I’m not really one for Victorian mysteries.  Now it’s possible I may come across one that holds my interest, and I feel if you’re into that sub-genre, you’ll take a great deal of enjoyment from this.  I’m looking at you Ignited Moth and Cupcakes and Machetes since you mentioned it for your book club 🙂  In fact, I’m hoping you decide on it, because I’m curious about the plot; the book just wasn’t my cup of tea ;p

There’s a certain point you reach with either maturity or understanding where you realize that just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it’s not valid or good. I’m learning this from trudging through my extensive reading list (and gaming backlog). Something may not be for me (FPS, urban fantasy, etc.), but it’s a preference issue not a value issue.


Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Golden Apple
Series Title: The Dark Forest
Author: Michelle Diener
Date Added: February 25, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: An Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Unattractive Vampire, An

Media: Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The King of Elfland’s Daughter
Author: Lord Dunsany
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

King of Elfland's Daughter, The

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

As you know, my never ending quest is to decrease the number of books on TBR list in any way possible without missing out on something phenomenal to read.  Since I have over 500 items on on, logic dictates that a good percentage of the will not hold my interest until the end; therefore, I should attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff so that what is on my list is what I genuinely want to read.  The best way for me to do this is to either download samples (where available) to gauge my interest in the novel and act accordingly, or to buy really cheap books on my Kindle with prices low enough that I won’t care either way.  I spent a little over $5.00 yesterday for four books, which I consider a good deal.  I almost spent around $30 for seven books (at $0.01 a piece, but shipping costs add up), but decided against that.  I downloaded a few samples, too (you can see them on my sample bookshelf on Goodreads if you’re so interested).  The goal is to download a sample, read it, decide whether I’m passing on it (there’s a shelf for that, too) or keeping it.  I was doing this before with the sample downloads, but I only did one batch of 25.  Eventually, I want to download samples for all the books I can (except for the ones I know I’m going to read), and I really, really need to start utilizing my local library.  I’ll save so much money.


Books Received This Week: 1

img_9808The cover is a bit hard to see, because it’s one of those shiny, library cases.  This is the other $0.01 book I bought a few weeks ago that I received the other day.  Again, I’m going to modify how I post purchased and received books, but I figured since I should tie up this loose end.  Another book the vein of Redwall, Watership Down, and Wind in the Willows.  I grew up loving fantasy stories that featured animals, and I really think reading them helped shaped my perspectives.


Books Currently Reading: 5

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: 23%

This remains a fun, little romp.  It’s one of those stories that has a huge background, but gives it out in drips and drops.  Since the main character is over 500 years old, she has a long, rich history and retains a wealth of knowledge.  Right now, it’s mostly a fetch quest that’s hopping from person to person with some random information tidbits thrown in.  I think the author is playing the game of not telling us everything about the characters in terms of powers and abilities.  This can be a hit or miss method.  If you fail to adequately explain how they manage to escape a dire strait with the rules of your story intact, you risk losing the confidence of the audience; however, if you’re careful with your foreshadowing and how you dribble information, it can turn out quite well.  So long as you don’t break the rules of your own fictional universe, though in this story, the rules haven’t been entirely established.  We know magic exists.  We know there are (conditionally) immortal characters, and we know that these fore mentioned characters can bind other entities to their will.

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%

The chapter I’m on now is much easier to follow than the prior one on black holes.  It’s about the beginning and the end of the universe, and it’s funny that speculation about both is equally valid.  The moments after the singularity known as the Big Bang are still a mystery since the laws of physics as we know them today could not exist.  The end of the universe is also up for speculation.  I like the theory of the “big crunch,” where everything collapses on itself at the end, which might possibly prompt another Big Bang.  The thought of that is comforting(?) and right, and it brings up the question of how many times has it already happened.  What universe are we living in now (though there’s no way we could ever know…)?  Have we done this dance millions of times in eons beyond count?  I often get the feeling that all of this has happened before, and we’re all part of this eternal cosmic dance.  There’s no way of knowing if prior universes were exactly the same (like that episode of Futurama “The Late Philip J. Fry” suggest), but everything would always be made up of the same stuff.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 81%

This book is slower than the first one, but I suppose that’s to be expected for a novel about dreams and dreaming.  I can’t say much about it, because it would give integral plot points away.  I’ve avoided adding the third book Blue Lily, Lily Blue, because I don’t want to read the blurb and be spoiled, but I plan to read it immediately after I finish this.

*******Warning: Discussions about rape below.*******

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 67%

Okay.  I may have to rant about this.  Last week I talked about how the characters in this section weren’t nearly as likable as the characters in the other sections.  While those characters might have done not so smart and even arguably selfish things, they were still respectable people.  Well, in this section, the heir to the throne helps his brother rape his uncle’s maiden foot holder, and I nearly threw the book across the room.  I’m absolutely disgusted by this.  It wasn’t described (not that that makes it better), but she fought him the entire time, which he has the fucking audacity to bitch about.  All his brother says to him is “Well, you’ve had your fun,” and “Your beloved kisses like a bumblebee.”

are-you-fucking-kidding-meI’m not using the meme to take away how vile this was.  I just have no words.  Since these are the “heroes” of the story, I’m not hopeful there will be any comeuppance or at least not enough.  Their uncle (the king) doesn’t know about what happened (yet) so I’m hoping when he does find out what his younger nephew did, there will be hell to pay.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 82%

I was complaining about this on the Book of Faces, but I’m not finding much to critique with this work.  My friend gave it to me to beta read, which means he’s looking for critiques prior to him (re)submitting it to an agent, and I just can’t find anything to give him.  Every character is well written, even the “bad guy” who is a total asshole, but the reasons why are heartbreaking and cyclical.  I’m hoping I find something to “complain” about before I finish hehe.


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

Last week I finished and reviewed The Missing Orchid where I talked about the importance of doing BDSM correctly.  In my grand tradition of finding multiple examples of a paradigm at a time, the latest chapter of this fanfiction is also a paragon of that.  I’m not usually one for erotic fanfiction, not that I have anything against it (and I’ve dabbled a bit in erotic RP); it’s just not my thing.  However, this author has made me jump from one ship to another (canon ship to non-canon), and I actually now dislike the original ship I liked, much preferring the one she’s going for!

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 2

Title: Warm Bodies
Series Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Date Added: February 25, 2017

The story behind my adding this book is kind of hilarious and involves the orange shit stain in the Oval Office.  I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw that Lord Commander Marmalade was bitching on Twitter about this author writing an apocalyptic novel that had to do with him and how it wasn’t very good.  Mr. Marion gave a reply that amounted to “if the shoe fits,” though the dictator in chief hadn’t been his target.  I had no idea he was the author of Warm Bodies, a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while.  I also have no idea if this is the novel in question, though it is (post) apocalyptic.  I support any artist who pisses that jack ass off, and I also love subversions of tropes.

Update:  Big old nope!  I found out that the author non-maliciously fabricated the conversation between him and Lord Dampnut lol.    I’m still going to read his book though and have already breezed through the sample.  Out of all the ones I’ve downloaded, it’s the most interesting.

Title: The Path of Flames
Series Title: Chronicles of the Black Gate
Author: Phil Tucker
Date Added: February 26, 2017

Look, don’t judge me.  This is partially my Kindle’s fault for recommending it, and…well, you know how I feel about white haired people.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 440
Change from Last Week: -111

The drastic change in the number of books on my list is due to me removing all but one per author (except in a few cases).  I had several for each author on my list prior with some authors I’ve never read before.  I figure I’ll have only one per and add another book by them as I finish it or not depending on how I liked the book.  The exceptions were for authors like GRRM and ones I know personally like Katherine McIntyre.  I also kept multiples if I owned the book physically or on Kindle (e.g. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin since I own both books in The Inheritance Trilogy).

I also made another “download sample” folder so I have one for current items and one for items I downloaded before.  This way I can check to see if I’ve downloaded a sample already.  There’s also a folder for books I’ve rejected and removed from my main list based on the sample downloads.  I grabbed a few samples from Amazon this week, so hopefully I’ll be able to weed some more books out based on that.


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: 2/22/17          The State of the Reader: 3/8/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 2/22/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/1/17–>

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: 1

Title: The Missing Orchid
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: February 2, 2017
Date Started: February 8, 2017
Date Finished: February 20, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days

I was more than satisfied with the ending of this book, and I’m glad to see the author isn’t becoming stagnant with her story lines.  I hope she plans to continue this series, because I have ever intention to keep reading.  I’ll have a review for it up by this weekend.


Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Hollow City
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: September 25, 2016
Date Purchased: February 18, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $8.79
Retailer: Target

Title: Cinder
Series Title: The Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Date Added: January 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 18, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $7.99
Retailer: Target

This is why I shouldn’t be allowed in a Target without supervision.  I’ve already talked about why I’m interested in Hollow City here, but since I added Cinder before I started doing my weekly SOTR posts, I’ve never actually talked about why it found its why on my TBR list in the first place.  It’s a retelling of Cinderella where the titular character is a cyborg mechanic, reviled by her stepmother (just like the other fairy tale princess) in addition to being a second class citizen.  The story is more complicated by sinister lunar observers waiting to make their move on our planet (Lunarians anyone?), and I’m sure our intrepid, mechanical heroine will have a major role to play in thwarting this.


Books Received This Week: 2

fullsizerender-2I’m still figuring this purchased/received thing out.  Since I purchased these two last week, I put them in last update’s Purchased section, but since they were bought online, I didn’t receive them until this week.  Whereas I bought the two books purchased above from Target yesterday, but I didn’t take a picture of them *organizational issue meltdown*

I think what I’m going to do going forward is to note down the day I purchased something, but I won’t include it in my SOTR until I have the volume in my hot, little hand.  Maybe I’ll rename the section Books Purchased and Received This Week.  Yes.  Yes, I like this very much.  I will perfect my organization mwa ha ha ha.

Anyway, I definitely wanted to show a picture of Riddled With Senses since it’s by someone I know!  Fellow blogger and writer Inkbiotic who has been providing excerpts to her story on her blog (the latest one being here), and from what I’ve read, it’s going to be phenomenal.  I love the taste of the language and am already a big fan of magical realism.  It’ll be the next book in my fantasy, sci-fi, general fiction rotation once I complete Prospero Lost. 

The Dark Portal just arrived today and was recommended to me through Goodreads due to my love of RedwallIt has a section that introduces all of the characters.  I’m really hoping it’s not a “all mice are good/all rats are evil” motif, because Redwall does enough of that.

Update:  *sigh* It does seem to be an “all mice are good/all rats are evil” motif.  Oh well.


Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Series Title: Stoker and Holmes
Author: Colleen Gleason
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: February 21, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 4%

Since I finished The Missing Orchid, that meant a new Kindle book needed to be picked (FYI: I really need to load more books onto my Kindle).  I initially started reading Dolor and Shadow, but it really didn’t hold my attention.  I’m not going to scrap it from my TBR list just yet, but this retelling/re-gendering of Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker seems like it will be a fun read.

So far the two young ladies have met up with Irene Adler (the woman) and are about to be given what I’m assuming is the novel’s main mystery/plot point.  So far it’s been written from Holmes’s point of view, and I like her voice.  It has a crisp, fresh feel to it.  I’m curious to see where it all goes.

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: 18%

This book is interesting and fun.  I have a few minor issues with it.  It introduces a lot of ideas at once, and it’s hard to keep them straight, but the characters of Miranda and Mab are a nice “odd couple” (though they’re not an OC by any means), and the author is excellent at leaving cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.

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: 31%

I finished the chapter on the color of black holes and am now on the one about the origin and fate of the universe.  To be honest, the black hole chapters weren’t all that interesting, but I think I’ll really enjoy the origin chapter.

It seems appropriate that I’m reading this volume at a time when NASA just discovered seven earth sized exoplanets orbiting a dwarf star 40 light years away.  At least one of the planets could be in the “sweet spot” for liquid water, which means it could support life.  It’s pretty freaking exciting.  I suppose seven is a lucky number 😉

Well…it didn’t take my troll brain too long to go off on a horror/horrifying tangent, and now I’m terrified, but it’s still exciting.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 62%

Ms. Stiefvater is doing an excellent job fleshing out the character of Ronan, who took more of a backseat to Gansey in the first novel, but she’s not doing very much to help me decide how I feel about him.  This is a good thing, because I love complex characters.  Ronan does things that are utterly reckless and pointedly stupid, and reasons are not excuses.  I know more about him and his situation than ever before in The Raven Boys, and I’m hoping the more we find out, the more sense some of his terrible choices are going to make.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 66%

I have to say the characters in this final branch are my least favorite of them all.  They swindled a character who was featured in a prior branch out of his swine and are now acting utterly entitled to them by virtue of thievery.  It’s not so much Gwydion and his brother GIlvaethwhy, but rather Gwidion’s men.  Granted Gwidion did initiate the trick, so he must’ve felt justified in doing it.  I’m hoping there’s some grand, godly design to this plan, otherwise the Old Tribes are going to seem like complete asses in this section.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 50%

As mentioned before I can’t say much about this story, but I will say it’s great.  There are a lot of complex issues and emotions going on, and my writer friend is dealing with them so well.  Since we’ve been friends since high school, I know a bit about some of his personal beliefs, and he’s not handling them shallowly in this story.  The “bad guy” is sympathetic (surprise, I like that!) even though he’s a total douche, and this goes back to reasons for horrendous behavior not being excuses.  I feel bad for him, but not so bad I wouldn’t run him over with my SUV.


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

You know an author is doing a great job when you want to smack all three of the characters in the love triangle.  Holy lord.  This really speaks to the philosophy of the outside point of view.  When your own emotions aren’t on the line, it’s far easier to be objective.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 3

Title: Raising Stony Mayhall
Author: Daryl Gregory
Date Added: February 18, 2017

When I saw Cupcakes and Machetes’ review of this I knew that name sounded familiar, the author, not the title.  I’ve read AND reviewed Mr. Gregory before.  One of my first reviews actually: The Devil’s Alphabet.  It was a novel of great potential that missed the shift to a higher gear.  It seems that Gregory is a sort of a hit or miss novelist, and according to C and M, Stony is more of a hit.  We started talking about it in her review of another book We Are All Complety Fine found here.

Stony is a different take on zombies, and since I’ve already added a few books from Cupcakes and Machetes about the same thing, I figured why break up a good streak?  Granted I haven’t read them yet, but it’s the potential that counts.

Title: The Children of Húrin
Series Title: Middle-Earth Universe
Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
Date Added: February 22, 2017

I remember finding this book in a Target years ago, but I didn’t buy it for whatever reason (I was probably trying to save money lol what the hell was I thinking?).  I forgot about it until I saw it in my Goodreads newsfeed.  It’s one of the many unreleased Tolkien books that the master of fantasy never revealed before he died.  I think there was some controversy with Peter Jackson wanting to use some of this content for the movies, and the original Tolkien’s son Christopher putting a stop to it, but the younger Tolkien did edit and release a bunch of works, The Children of Húrin being one of them.  Per the blurb, it sounds like it borrows from The Kalevala (shit…I need to add that, too), and since I’m a lover of ancient tales and mythology, I’m cautiously optimistic about this book.

Title: The Kalevala
Authors: Elias Lönnrot & Anonymous,
Translator: Keith Bosley
Date Added: February 22, 2017

I read snippets of stories from this when I was a child.  We had a Mythology Childcraft book (I loved those books.  Would love to find a set of them again), and in it was a story about the Sampo, which was a huge, magical MacGuffin in the Finnish tales.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 551
Change from Last Week: -3

I did some clean up on my list this week.  I try to keep only the next book in a series on my list, and I had all of the Jeff Lindsey Dexters still on it.  Not that I didn’t love the first book (or the first seven seasons up until the disastrous last one that still could’ve been saved if they hadn’t utterly fucked up the finale grrrrr), but I figure it’s easier to just add them one at a time.


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: 2/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/1/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 2/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/8/17          The State of the Reader: 2/22/17–>

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.

DNF This Week: 1

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

Media: Hardback
DNF Progress: 20%

I think the moment I say I’m probably going to declare something DNF is the moment I’ve decided it’s going to happen.  It wasn’t what I expected, which isn’t always a bad thing…but it was in this case because this novel was not only urban fantasy, but young adult, the two (sub) genres I have the most trouble with.

I actually wrote the review for it last weekend, but I need to proofread it before I post.  I manage to go off on a tangent that includes both Shakespeare and FFVII, which considering that I’m a writer and an FFVII fanatic, is not that farfetched.


Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: Dolor and Shadow
Series Title: Tales of the Drui
Author: Angela B. Chrysler
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Dolor and Shadow

Media: Kindle
Price: $2.99

Every time I look at the title of this book, the words “Saevam iram, iram et dolorum…” run through my head like the merciless earworm they are.  Bonus points if you know where those words are from.

Title: Urchin of the Riding Stars
Series Title: The Mistmantle Chronicles
Author: Margaret McAllister
Date Added: May 17, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Urchin of the Riding Stars

Media: Hardcover
Price: $0.01

When I find books on my TBR list for less than $1.00, I’m quick to scoop them up.  This looks like a re-purposed library book; I don’t know yet, since I just ordered it from Amazon this weekend, and it’s going to take a few weeks to get to me.  This one and the one below were recommended due to my love of Redwall (and looking at the covers, it’s plain to see why).  Even if I don’t like either of them, I paid more for the shipping than for the books, and I’ve wasted $5.00 on worse things.

Title: The Dark Portal
Series Title:The Deptford Mice
Author:Robin Jarvis
Date Added:May 13, 2016
Date Purchased: February 11, 2017

Dark Portal, The

Media: Hardcover
Price: $0.01

Title: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Series Title: The Vampire Chronicles
Author: Anne Rice
Date Added: February 13, 2017
Date Purchased: February 12, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99

This is one of those rare books that I bought before I added, and I had to put all the information into this post while trying not to read the blurb, because I haven’t finished the prior book Prince Lestat.  I started it over a year ago, but I think my designated reading time for it was before jazzercise.  Since I haven’t been there in more than a year, and since I didn’t start scheduling my reading time until after I put it aside, I never got through the novel.  It’s not a DNF though.  I full intend to finish it.

The reason I purchased the sequel was due to a tweet by Anne Rice herself, informing her followers that the book was only $0.99 on Amazon.  Like I said above in regards to Mistmantle and The Deptford Mice, I won’t pass up a buy on any book on my list if it’s under $1.00.  That would just be silly.

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Purchased: February 15, 2017

I made a promise to fellow blogger Inkbiotic that I would purchase her book after receiving my next paycheck, and I’ve gladly kept that vow.  If the samplings she’s so graciously posted on her blog are any indication, I’m going to enjoy this greatly.  It’s magical realism with a same sex relationship.  Yes and yes.


Books Currently Reading: 6

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: 10%

Since I declared Vassa in the Night DNF, it was necessary for me to pick another physical book to read the next time Vassa came up in my reading rotation (I’ll have to tell you all about that some time…).  I actually wasn’t entirely set on what to choose next, so I decided to read the first page in a few of the books in my pile and see what caught my fancy.

Prospero Lost was one of those books I judged by its title and cover first (so you see I wasn’t lying in my Rapid Fire Book Tag post), and I judged it well.  I don’t just buy books based on that though (I’ve been burned quite a few times before), but the blurb sparked by interest even more.  An ancient and immortal, magical family in the modern era who own a company that strives to do good in the world.  It was a tidy bit different from most mega-corporations in sci-fi and fantasy (and science fantasy), and since I have writing ideas for something similar, reading this book would also be a good learning experience.  The writing is good, and the plot coupons thus far presented are intriguing.

Then I came to this paragraph:

“I sat at a wrought-iron table next to the fountain, stirring my tea.  My hair, so pale as to appear silver, was piled atop my head in a Grecian style that had gone out of vogue more than a century ago.  My garment, a tea gown with a high lacy collar — the enchanted satin of which matched the emerald of my eyes…”

All I needed.

Title: The Missing Orchid
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: February 2, 2017
Date Started: February 8, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 36%

I’m really hoping this case turns out differently from Beth’s others.  She’s investigated missing persons before, but they usually end up dead.  It’s not that every story needs a happy ending, but I really hope this one ends in a happy reunion :\

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: 27%

I just finished the chapter about black holes, and the next chapter proclaims that black holes aren’t actually black.  Astrophysics is amazing.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 48%

I’m tearing through this just as quickly as I ripped through the first.  Somehow Ms. Stiefvater managed to make a drug laden, dangerous teenage party with Molotov cocktails in a field seem poetic #talent

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 63%

One of the many things I find interesting about this compendium is how it will return to prior characters that were main ones in another branch and have them be side characters or even antagonists.  Since the fourth branch focuses on Gwydion and his brother Gilvaethwy, it’s from their point of view, and prior characters could be in positions set against them.

It’s also fascinating to note that the Old Tribes don’t really have a sense of fatherhood, but the New Tribes do.  The New have also introduced the idea of marriage, which many of the Old are quite against for good reason.  This fatherhood conundrum is a concept that I’ve read in both fiction/fantasy and historic or rather prehistoric fiction before.  You have to leave your presentism behind and remember that science and technology have not always been on the same level.  Women’s bodies were (and still remain in many cases much to my annoyance) a complete mystery.  No one really understood how conception occurred and sex was seen as merely pleasure or relief.  The connection between it and babies wasn’t a necessary fact, which meant that the idea of fatherhood was tenuous at best.  Even when it was mentioned, many scoffed at it since women aren’t impregnated by each sexual encounter, though Gwydion does note that if a cow is put into a field alone or only with other cows, she remains barren; however, if you add a bull, she’ll become pregnant.  Unfortunately, human pride stymies this comparison due to the idea of special creation (which I think is bunk) and not wanting to be compared to the beasts of the field.  Even in the present, this idea persists, which puts a damper on a great deal of progress and progressive thought.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 10%

What the hell is this? you ask.  Well an author friend of mine from high school whom I keep in touch with through the book of faces honored me the other day by asking me to beta read one of his novels.  I gladly accepted and figured out how to work it into the rotation.  He sent it as a PDF so I’m reading it on my Kindle during my lunch break along with the other two Kindle books.  He asked if I could have it finished by late February/early March, and I don’t think that will be a problem.

Obviously due to it being an unpublished novel, I can’t tell you anything about it or rather I’m erring on the side of discretion.  I’ll post my progress on it, just because it’s better for me to do so, since I’m more likely to make progress on reading, but alas, I shall have to keep details about the book hush hush until it’s published.


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

She updated this week! I haven’t had a chance to read the next chapter yet.  I’m hoping this weekend will allow it.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Komarr
Series Title: Vorkosigan Saga
Author: Lois Bujold McMaster
Date Added: February 13, 2017

I replied to a comment on a body positivity site about bullying, and another commenter replied to me recommending this book.  Though the blurb appears to be in Swedish, Goodreads insists the book is in English, and though it’s the 11th book of the series, I was informed this would be one I’d want to read.  The main character deals with bullying from all sources (family and schoolmates), which is something I grew up with, and like the MC, I was told to “ignore it and it’ll go away,” which is absolute bullshit.  I thanked the purveyor of the comment and added this to my TBR list.

Title: Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis
Series Title: The Vampire Chronicles
Author: Anne Rice
Date Added: February 13, 2017

I talked about this above in the Purchased This Week section.

Title: One
Author: Sarah Crossan
Date Added: February 13, 2017

Thank you to The Writing Hufflepuff for throwing this into my sphere!  Apparently, it will rip my heart out.  I am so not ready D:

It’s about conjoined twin sisters Tippi and Grace who are perfectly happy being two in one, but then something happens that forces them to make the choice they’ve always been avoiding, and I already have a feeling I know what’s going to happen…

Title: Dweller
Author: Jeff Strand
Date Added: February 13, 2017

My Rapid Fire Book Tag (which I’ve already linked above) incited others to join in the fun, which is what such tags are about!  But there is a selfish side to the book tag phenomenon mwa ha ha, and that’s the fact that I find out about more new books to add to my ever growing TBR list.  Wait…this may not be so advantageous after all noooooo.  Hehe, truly, while I’ll never have time to finish them all, I’d hate to miss something I may very well love, and Ignited Moth almost casually mentioned this interesting horror gem (horror gem?  Horror gem?) in the Underrated Book section of the tag.

We’ve all heard stories about monsters in the forest and bogeymen in the woods.  They’re usually the Big Bad of any tale, and initially the main character Toby is terrified when he sees the creature in question, but the next time he encounters it, he’s lonely, unhappy teenager bereft of friends and overburdened with bullies.  The hungry creature provided a solution to both.  I just put this on my “Really Want To Read” list.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 554
Change from Last Week: +3


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


What are you currently reading and/or what’s on your radar to read next?  What would you recommend based on my current and recently added?  As always I look forward to your comments and suggestions!

<–The State of the Reader: 2/8/17          The State of the Reader: 2/22/17–>

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Rapid Fire Book Tag

I saw this tag on Getting Through Anxiety’s blog and thought I’d participate in the fun (I’m also trying to catch up on the list of tags I still have unfinished, and this looks like a quick one hehe).  Feel free to participate if you wish!


EBOOKS OR PHYSICAL BOOKS?

Hm.  I adore the feel and smell of the pages, but I can read books on my Kindle on my lunch break at work or anywhere, and I love that convenience.  I know theoretically, I can read a physical book anywhere, too, but the e-reader makes it so much easier.

PAPERBACK OR HARDBACK?

Paperback.  Less expensive.

ONLINE OR IN-STORE BOOK SHOPPING?

In store book shopping.  I love bookstores, and I try to patronize the local Barnes and Noble at least once a month.  If there was an independently owned bookstore in my vicinity, I’d shop there.  I don’t want to see brick and mortar bookstores go away.  Sometimes I just go there to bask in their “bookiness.”

TRILOGIES OR SERIES?

Trilogies.  I don’t hate series.  Hell my favorite (book) story is a series (ASOIAF), but overall, I like it when narratives have a finite and defined ending.

HEROES OR VILLAINS?

Villains of course.

A BOOK YOU WANT EVERYONE TO READ?

This book was paramount to my understanding of symbolism, narrative, and mythology.  It shows the ways all narratives are tied together and is the origin of The Hero’s Journey/Monomyth,

RECOMMEND AN UNDERRATED BOOK.

I’m going by my favorites list on Goodreads and their average rating.

I really can’t believe this book is rated so low (3.73), but I guess YMMV when it comes to angelic lore.  Even though I haven’t read it in years (and reread could potentially change my point of view), it has a Paradise Lost vibe to it insofar as the devil is painted as a sympathetic character, but Ms. Rice does it not only on purpose, but for that purpose (unlike Milton who would’ve never purposely done such a thing).  This book was probably integral in my obsessive sympathy for my favorite Luciferian character.

THE LAST BOOK YOU FINISHED?

Oddly enough, the last book I finished is by the person from whom I got this tag, and I wrote a review for it here!

WEIRDEST THING YOU USED AS A BOOKMARK?

A black feather

USED BOOKS, YES OR NO?

I just bought two used books on Amazon yesterday.  They were $0.01 each.   I paid more for the shipping than for the books themselves.  I have no problem with used books.

TOP THREE FAVORITE GENRES?

Dark Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Magical Realism

BORROW OR BUY?

Buy.  I want my own things.

CHARACTERS OR PLOT?

I tend to like plot driven stories, but you have to have good characters who are going to know what to do when they’re thrown into precarious situations.

LONG OR SHORT BOOK?

There’s nothing more wonderful than a long, fascinating novel, but I’ve been breezing through a lot of shorter works lately, which is helping me reach my 2017 reading goal.  So I prefer long books, but short books are good for practical purposes.  It also depends on how much I’m enjoying the story in question.

LONG OR SHORT CHAPTERS?

Short to medium.  Granted I’m a hypocrite when it comes to chapter length in my own work.

NAME THE FIRST THREE BOOKS YOU THINK OF.

The Last Unicorn, Prospero Lost (it’s sitting right in front of me), and The Raven Boys

BOOKS THAT MAKE YOU LAUGH OR CRY?

Anything by Douglas Adams is hilarious, and I cry during Iza’s death scene in Clan of the Cave Bear every single time I read it.  I’m tearing up right now thinking about it.

OUR WORLD OR FICTIONAL WORLDS?

Fictional.  This world sucks.

AUDIOBOOKS: YES OR NO?

Only if I’ve already read the book.

DO YOU EVER JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER?

I think we all do every now and then.  I have definitely been drawn to a book based on its cover, which has led me to read the blurb and potentially make a purchase.  Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin is a perfect example of this.  I found it in a used bookstore, had never heard of it or the author, didn’t realize at the time the title is based on a play by Shakespeare, but the cover caught my attention.

BOOK TO MOVIE OR BOOK TO TV ADAPTATION?

Book to TV can generally fit more of the book in (if done properly.  I’m looking at you Game of Thrones).

SERIES OR STANDALONE?

Series if the writing is compelling.  For example, I absolutely love The Raven Cycle series.

 

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