The Books of 2020

So 2020, am I right?  What else can be said about the year that hasn’t already been spoken?

Let’s talk books!

I’m going to do it a bit differently than I did it last year.  I found a template that I created but never used so this year I decided to remedy that.


Favorite Book

I haven’t reviewed this yet, so I don’t want to say too much, but I knew this had the highest chance of being my GOAT for 2020.  A bold claim, I know, since I finished reading it in February, and indeed, there was another book that almost edged it out, but I’m a sucker for fantasy/sci-fi with realistic emotional impact, and the female MC is so 2020 it hurts.  We all know the 2020 attitude of *shrug* “Yeah that might as well happen” regardless of what batshit crazy thing occurs, and after surviving literal pestilence, Sarah would react just like that to our own.


Favorite Series

I have so far completed the second book of this series, but it’s still my favorite for 2020.  I mean it’s a paranormal romance series about ANGELS ffs, so easy sell.  Anyway, per the the third book’s blurb, the main angel’s evil mom shows back up to drive him into wrathful insanity so that’ll be a totally new thing for me to read about *nods* EXCITING.

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20 Questions Book Tag

Another one from the indomitable Writer Michelle Payne.  I think I can answer 20 book questions 🙂

1. How many books is too many books in a series?

Hm, that’s one of those “it depends” questions.  If the series remains fresh and relevant, keep going, but if the plot lines are going stale and the characters are stalling, I think it’s time to retire it.  I’d say 20+ books is too much with the same characters and setting.

2. How do you feel about cliffhangers?

They’re evil and I love them. Re: Strange the Dreamer.

Strange the Dreamer cover

3. Hard copy or paperback?

I prefer paperback.  They’re easier to carry around and to read.  Hardback usually has an annoying cover that, while aesthetically pleasing, tends to flap around and get in the way.

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The State of the Writer: 3/25/18

<–The State of the Writer: 3/11/18          The State of the Writer: 4/8/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 2


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,564
Prior Word Count: 261,397
Word Difference: +164
Status: Revising
Progress: Editing Chapter 3

No source on this lovely line drawing, mores the pity, but neither of my source sites are yielding any hits.

I’m about halfway through the revision/reedit of Chapter 3.  I was even up until around 4:00 last night working on it (and probably contributed to me passing out this afternoon), so editing marches on.

Project: Story Audio Recording
Title:
Northern Lights
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Status: Prepping
Progress: Editing Chapter 1

So I’m essentially editing another story, since I obviously can’t do any kind of audio recording if the “script” (as it were) isn’t up to date.  It always amazes me how much one’s writing can evolve over a short period of time.  I wrote/edited Northern Lights only around two years ago, but I’m finding and fixing some pretty clunky parts.  What’s funny is I did a recording of the full chapter and liked it (at the time), but when it comes to writing there’s always room for improvement, and I doubt any writer’s ever satisfied.  It’s still better than rereading things I wrote a decade ago *shudder*  It’s probably better right now since my voice has still been a problem, but I have honey and lemon to put in my tea, so I suppose there’s hope.


In Progress

  • Games Alive – I am so close to finishing the list of favorite games per year since I was born.  I believe I’m in the ’10’s now or very close to it.  I’m hoping for one more session to write and one more to edit and post.

Rough weekend.  I spent most of it sleeping due to fatigue, and I didn’t get a great deal of what I wanted to accomplish done.  Now to attempt to catch up before it’s time to get ready for work tomorrow.  

What creative stuff are you working on?  Let’s discuss in the comments!

<–The State of the Writer: 3/11/18          The State of the Writer: 4/8/18–>

Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Title: Never Never
Series: Never Never
Authors: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Date Added: August 26, 2016
Date Started: July 20, 2017
Date Finished: July 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 10 days
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The cover of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn FisherPages: 326
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Publisher: Hoover Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle


 “How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.” 

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They’ve been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning…they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love…every memory has vanished. “I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.” 

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be…the more they question why they were ever together to begin with. 

“I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie.”


My first impression of this novel broken in three was of amazement.  Charlize or rather Charlie and Silas have no idea who they or their families are, nor do they have a clue what happened to them to cause this.  Through a series of events, they both realize they’re in the same boat and try to figure out what the hell is going on and why they’re in this situation.  Attempting to both solve the mystery of their memory loss and keep anyone from realizing it’s occurred would be daunting enough, but they also must navigate the social travails of high school, family life, and the fact that there’s bad blood between Silas and Charlie’s fathers.

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The State of the Writer: 8/6/17

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

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

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,754
Prior Word Count: 266,907
Word Difference: -153
Status: Prepping to post Chapter 10
Progress: Preliminary review

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

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

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

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


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

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

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

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

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


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

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

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The State of the Writer: 7/30/17

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

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

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,907
Prior Word Count: 267,081
Word Difference: -174
Status: Editing
Progress: 4th edit

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

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

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

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The State of the Reader: 7/5/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/28/17          The State of the Reader: 7/12/17–>

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 Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: Kept – I had this on my RWTR list, but I bumped it off of that.  It’s interesting, but I’m not chaffing at the bit to read it.  I put it on my library shelf though, so I’m sure I’ll get to it soon due to that marvelous resource.
  2. In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang: Passed – I can’t get into the writing style, and the poor editing job doesn’t help.  I also read a review that said it was heavy handed in religion.  Since the sample showed the main character seeming to be exasperated with the concept, this is probably going to be a “come to Jesus” type of novel where he realizes the error of his ways in being a Doubting Thomas, and stories like that just don’t interest me.  3 Gates of the Dead is by one of my very devout Catholic author friends where the main character has the Doubting Thomas mien, but by the end of the book, he still has his doubts and is trying to come to terms with everything.  He’s not completely throwing away his belief in God, but doubts don’t just disappear, and it makes the MC more human and relatable.  The premise of In the Eyes of Madness seems like something that would really draw my interest since I believe it starts off with the MC having some issue with his mother, and then he doesn’t know what’s real anymore before horror ensues (I’m probably simplifying it too much, but you get the gist of why this would pique my interest), but I have to pass.
  3. King’s Folly by Jill Williamson: Kept – I have a great fondness for main characters in command, control, or a leadership position who don’t abuse their power and authority.  I don’t recall the captain’s name, but when an earthquake strikes right before he pulls his ship into port, his actions and the way his men react to him clearly show he’s worthy of their respect.  While he doesn’t go down with his ship, he is the last to leave after making sure everyone else escaped.  He also notes that many of his men can’t swim.  The fact that he knows this means he cares enough to find out,; therefore, I care enough to read more.
  4. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan: Kept – I really thought I wasn’t going to like this because on the surface it seems a bit too Harry Potter like (especially with the first sentence mentioning “half bloods”), but there’s a distinctive difference in style and mien.  While both this and J. K. Rowling’s series have a young, white male protagonist with special powers, the source of magic and the reason humans can wield it is never fully outlined in HP’s world.  It appears to just be genetic with no particular progenitor.  Percy is the son of Poseidon, which means this book/series is going to utilize, at least on the surface, classical mythology.
  5. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey: Kept – It’s hard for me to turn my back on winter tales.  I’m quite obsessed with that season.  What also drew me to this were the wife’s depressive thoughts and suicide ideation.
  6. Mirror Image by Michael Scott: Passed – It’s a mystery, horror thriller about an evil mirror, but it just didn’t grab me.
  7. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone: Kept – A dead god and a young woman who was thrown out of her hidden school to crash to earth in a heap.  Sounds like there’s some Paradise Lost influence going on with this, and I’m all about that.
  8. Curse of the Thirteenth Fey by Jane Yolen: Kept (RWTR) – I missed downloading this one when I was going through my list.  It’s from 2013 and I’m downloading ones from 2016.  I’m glad I noticed it as I was going through a new batch of book samples.  I’ve read Jane Yolen before.  Her Briar Rose is one of the most haunting fairy tale reworkings I’ve ever read.
  9. The Last Wish by Andrej Sapokowski: Kept – This is the book The Witcher game series is based on.  I was going to say game devs love people with white hair, but it’s not just them.  We could blame Michael Moorcock for this but it’s one of those tropes that’s older than dirt or as old as religion.
  10. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit, this one surprised me.  I expected to give it a pass, because it’s urban fantasy and takes place in modern times, and this is exactly what I said in my latest State of the Gamer post about not discounting genres/formats.  I like Mercy.  I like that she’s a female mechanic and no one seems to give her shit for that.  I’m actually hyped to read this book.
  11. Never Never by Colleen Hoover: Kept (RWTR)/Purchased – I had to force myself to stop reading this sample.  I’ve read, seen, and played many stories about amnesia.  It’s a trope so common it’s become trite, but this take on it is utterly new.  Bounced between two points of view, both characters lose all memory of who they are including their names while they’re in the middle of their school day.  It would be like you’re just going about your business, and all of a sudden all memory of your past just vanishes.  You have to pretend you know people whose faces you don’t recognize (you don’t even know your own), because how would someone that’s known you your entire life react if you said you didn’t remember them?  They’d think you were mocking or making a joke.  When I saw how much the book was on Amazon, it was an easy purchase.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Daemoniac
Series Title: A Dominion Mystery
Author: Kat Ross
Date Added: October 13, 2016
Date Purchased: July 3, 2017

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

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The State of the Reader: 8/31/16

<–The State of the Reader: 8/24/16          The State of the Reader: 9/7/16–>

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

Books Currently Reading: 4
Change from Last Week:
0

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown

Mystical Qabalah, TheMedium: Paperback
Progress: 82%

I finished the part of the book initially written by Fortune, and while I was  on the fence with whether I’d continue into the Subjective Pathworking section, I’m glad I did.  In many ways it’s more engaging than the book proper.  There are other reasons I’m happy I continued.  I came upon something extremely meta that I never would’ve known about had I not.

Fortune in this latter section strives to explain the concept of Astral Light, and I immediately thought of two other ideas, one bleeding from the other, with the source concept very well known in popular culture:

“It is held to extend like a tenuous yet viscid atmosphere throughout the entire cosmos, interpenetrating all dense substance, and acting as the medium for the transmission of subtle forces.”

I read that and thought, “…wait, that sounds a hell of a lot like the Force.”  *letting the geek flag fly* “And wait again…the Lifestream from FFVII is inspired by the Force…and this book is about the Holy Sephiroth, omg holy meta, Batman, wheels within wheels.”  Do I think Squeenix delved that deeply into this concept?  Probably not, but I do believe they did some preliminary research, nor is it farfetched that they’d use philosophies from the Qabalah, as it’s quite commonly if not knowingly utilized through the fantasy and sci-fi genre.  It’s one of those theologies that’s prevalent in the zeitgeist, though it’s not necessarily named.  I’m pretty sure GRRM is using it to with his followers of R’hllor, the Red God, in the ideas of light and darkness, as there aren’t two trees, but rather the tree and the shadow it casts.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 7%

I read more, but only a little bit.  Apparently, I didn’t put any reading on my to do list so I didn’t do any (except for what I can from my phone) since Saturday.  Wtf.  I’ve remedied it, but I’m a bit annoyed since I really like this and the one below.

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