The State of the Reader: 6/6/18

<–The State of the Reader: 5/23/18          The State of the Reader: 6/20/18–>

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

Books Purchased: 4


Books Finished: 1

Title: Parasol Protectorate
Series Title: Souless
Author: Gail Carriger
Date Added: October 26, 2016
Date Started: April 26, 2018
Date Finished: June 1, 2018

SoullessMedia: Paperback (Library)

This was delightful even if it was a little predictable.  The ending is extremely satisfactory and the dry, witty humor helps curb some of the cliches.  I will definitely be continuing this series.

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Top 20 Books of 2017

I set my Goodreads challenge to complete 15 books, and I read 73.  There’s something to be said for underestimation.  I low-balled it because last year, I put 20 on my challenge, but only finished 19; however, I discovered that by putting books on my schedule/to-do list, I could complete them like a fiend.  At some points I was reading eight at a time, but I mostly stuck with my favorite number: seven.  That…was too much though, and while I love to read, I also want to have enough time to do other things.  So I cut down to four, which might still sound like a lot, but one is a Kindle that I read on my lunch break; one is a fiction/fantasy; one varies between a classic or a non-fiction/reference (before I was reading one of each); and the last is a graphic novel/manga, which are easy to breeze through.  Compare this to two Kindles, one fiction/fantasy, one classic, one non-fiction/reference, one graphic novel/manga, and one library book. I’m currently borrowing Death Note from the library for my manga, and I’ll borrow fictions/fantasies from there, too.


Total Books Read: 73

  1. Tuf Voyaging by George R. R. Martin
  2. In the House of the Wyrm by George R. R. Martin
  3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  4. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
  5. Rest in Piece by B. W. Ginsburg
  6. The Missing Orchid by Fia Black
  7. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
  8. The Quantum Door by Jonathan Ballagh
  9. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
  10. The Illustrated A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  11. Descendants by Rae Else
  12. The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton
  13. Riddled With Senses by Petra Jacob
  14. The Quantum Ghost by Jonathan Ballagh
  15. Radiance by Grace Draven
  16. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K, Vaughn
  17. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater
  18. Eidolon by Grace Draven
  19. A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins
  20. Saga: Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn
  21. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia (edited) by Patrick Thorpe
  22. Saga: Volume 3 by Brian K. Vaughn
  23. Silent Child by Sarah K. Denzil
  24.  A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
  25. Saga: Volume 4 by Brian K, Vaughn
  26. Saga: Volume 5 by Brian K. Vaughn
  27. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
  28. Saga: Volume 6 by Brian K. Vaughn
  29. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
  30. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  31. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn
  32. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  33. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  34. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  35. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft
  36. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Volume 1 by Katie Cook
  37. Poetic Edda: The Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes by Anonymous
  38. Never Never: Part One by Colleen Hoover
  39. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  40. Never Never: Part Two by Colleen Hoover
  41. Never Never: Part Three by Colleen Hoover
  42. The Legend of Zelda: The Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  43. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson
  44. Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton
  45. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss
  46. Monstress #1: Awakening
  47. An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel
  48. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
  49. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  50. The Archived by Victoria Schwab
  51. Dweller by Jeff Strand
  52. Abstract Clarity by B. W. Ginsburg
  53. Chobits, Vol. 1 by CLAMP
  54. The Winter’s Tale by William Shakespeare
  55. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  56. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom by Tsugumi Ohba
  57. Master of Crows by Grace Draven
  58. Moon Called by Patricia Briggs
  59. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson
  60. Promethea, Vol. 1 by Alan Moore
  61. Blink Once by Cylin Busby
  62. Death Note, Vol. 2: Confluence by Tsugumi Ohba
  63. The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau
  64. The Daemoniac by Kat Ross
  65. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan
  66. Death Note, Vol. 3: Hard Run by Tsugumi Ohba
  67. Death Note, Vol 4: Love by Tsugumi Ohba
  68. Gyo by Junji Ito
  69. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories by Franz Kafka
  70. Parallel by Anthony Vicino
  71. Death Note, Vol. 5: Whiteout
  72. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  73. Death Note, Vol 7: Give-and-Take by Tsugumi Ohba
Total Fiction/Sci-Fi/Fantasy: 46 (63%)
Total Classic: 3 (4%)
Total Non-Fiction/Reference: 4 (5%)
Total Graphic Novels/Manga: 20 (27%)

I was going to do this whole shebang with “Most Read Author,” “Favorite New Author,” “Favorite Series,” and all this other stuff, but I decided on just doing a Top 20 with that number as an increase from the original 10.  I marked around 14 books as potential Tops and figured I could find six more.

20. Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman

The cover of Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain by David EaglemanOne of the best parts of reading this book was the perfect timing when I read it: in the midst of watching a Let’s Play of SOMA, which I’ve spoken of at great length (even though the review/essay is still to come).  Incognito explores the intricacies of conscious, subconscious, and unconscious processes and how the latter two form the foundation of the first.  It’s written in such a way that psychological novices can still follow with relatable analogies and examples, but the volume is not without some major issues, which I started noticing around Chapter 4 with Eagleman’s views on beauty/attractiveness that spiraled unfortunately towards racism (yes…really).  He also didn’t fully explore the reasons behind why we have unconscious biases, which never just come out of a vacuum.  While the author has a flair for piquing interest in subjects that could easily come off as tedious, his essentialism and (seemingly) unwillingness to take environmental influences into account raises my brows (and hackles) a bit (e.g. his insistence that having a Y chromosome essentially makes one more violent without considering this propensity could be due to how those perceived as having a Y chromosome are treated from [often before] birth is only one of many).  While I enjoyed the book for what information it imparted, especially for those unfamiliar with psychology, the fore mentioned (and other) issues prompt me to insist it be read with a discerning eye and copious grains of salt.

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

The cover of Dweller by Jeff StrandThis novel was like a more fucked up version of Harry and the Hendersons, if the Hendersons were a once brutally bullied loner and Harry was a man eating abomination.  I really wanted to know where the monster came from.  Was he some government experiment gone wrong?  A throwback from an early time?  A creature from an alien dimension?  Everything about him just breeds more questions, but his relationship with Toby is both poignant and disturbing.  A lot of fucked up things happen in this book.  I was initially unsure about Strand’s writing style, but it grew on me as did Toby’s character.  It made sense why the author wrote it in this way: it perfectly reflected the MC’s mental state.  This is one of those books that has the perfect ending, as in there’s no other way it could’ve ended for these characters that would’ve been as satisfactory.

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The State of the Writer: 9/24/17

<–The State of the Writer: 9/17/17          The State of the Writer: 10/1/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include (but not be limited to) any and all work(s) in progress (WIPs) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, and reviews.  Additionally, this post will showcase what writing projects I’ve completed in the past week as a sort of weekly roundup, as I’ve seen other cooler bloggers do.

Finished This Week: 1

Project: Book Review
Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Author:
Sarah J. Maas
Date Posted: September 21, 2017

I’ll hopefully be adding audio to this an my other book reviews soon.  I have one recorded for Gaslight Hades, but I need to edit it.  I’ll obviously have to figure out a schedule for doing this as well, but I will say the recording process is enjoyable.


Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 260,329
Prior Word Count: 260,062
Word Difference: +267
Status: Editing/Planning Revision
Progress: First edit of Chapter 11

The above picture has pretty much been me for the past week, sipping coffee, taking notes…thinking, which is always a dangerous thing.  Even though I write fantasy, I’m actually quite a bit of a realist, which isn’t really that anathema.  Fantasy worlds are only fantasy to us; they’re quite real to their inhabitants, and one of the things that’s always made Final Fantasy VII stand out is how closely it aligns to our own world.  With taking place in an analogue for New York City, focusing on our abuse of the Earth/Planet, delving into bioethics and warfare, and the subtext of man’s hubris to name a paltry few.

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3)

A Court of Thorns and Roses

<–ACOTAR #2

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: May 26, 2017
Date Started: June 12, 2017
Date Finished: July 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 33 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 699
Publication Date: May 2, 2017
Publisher: Bloomsbury Childrens Books
Media: Hardback


Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.


Note: Spoilers have been tagged, but apparently the background isn’t completely black, because you can still kind of see the words, but probably not enough to make them out unless you put forth a concerted effort.  My blog update/upgrade is still a work in progress, so I apologize for any inconvenience.

The finale to Maas’s whirlwind fae, paranormal romance is both satisfying and complete, so I was quite surprised to see not only a fourth, but up to a sixth book in the series planned, at least by what Goodreads says.  My hope is that these volumes will focus on other characters and wrap up some loose ends.  It would be a shame to sully Feyre and Rhys’s wonderful OTP status with series fatigue, but if the later books explored other relationships and showed how humans and fae learned how to coexist that would be perfect.  The power couple could obviously be involved in such happenings, but they shouldn’t be the only focus.

Feyre’s gambit in the Spring Court is deliciously vengeful, but Maas is like Martin insofar as actions have consequences, which come to fruition later, and while I don’t want to say all is well at the end, I will proclaim the plot comes full circle.  Tamlin acts like the guy who pressures girls to sleep with him, and then when they no longer have any interest, turns into the jaded, abusive, slut-shaming ex who’s terrifyingly possessive.

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The State of the Reader: 9/20/17

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

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

Samples Read This Week

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

Books Purchased This Week: 7

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

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

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The State of the Writer: 9/17/17

<–The State of the Writer: 9/10/17          The State of the Writer: 9/24/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include (but not be limited to) any and all work(s) in progress (WIPs) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, and reviews.  Additionally, this post will showcase what writing projects I’ve completed in the past week as a sort of weekly roundup, as I’ve seen other cooler bloggers do.

Finished This Week: 3

Project: Book Review
Title: Gaslight Hades
Author: Grace Draven
Date Posted: September 11, 2017

One book review finished out of many needed this past week, but I’m starting to look at the reviews as yet another long term project, especially if I’m going to finish three or so books a week.  This novel is in the running for my Book of the Year, and Grace Draven may very well be my new/current favorite author.

Project: Award
Title: Not Really Another Liebster Award
Author: Inkbiotic

As the title states, it’s not really another Liebster award, but rather one I scooped up on Ms. Inkbiotic’s blog as it was so offered.  It was a great deal of fun, and it roused her out of hiding to answer my questions in turn.  I call that a win 😀

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The State of the Writer: 8/13/17

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

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

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,752
Prior Word Count: 266,754
Word Difference: -2
Status: Posting Chapter 10
Progress: Posted to WP

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

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

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

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

The current and upcoming list is as follows:

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

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

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

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


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

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

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