Creative Christmas – New Year Swag

Tis the Christmas season (or Advent to be theologically accurate), and in the spirit of the season, the lovely blogger over at Later Levels has decided to celebrate the 12 Days of Christmas a few days earlier with 12 gaming related questions for all of us good, little gaming elves out there.  These are my responses.

👗   30 December 2017:   You’ve been invited to a swanky New Year’s Eve party but have nothing suitable to wear! Which video game character do you call to ask if you can borrow an outfit?

Luckily for me, I’ve already talked about this in my Fashionistas and Fancy Fellows post!  Of course they’re all from Final Fantasy, though I’ve noticed my favorite series either dresses its characters in the best get-ups…

Runway model quality

Picture Source: Sephiroth from FFVII by AHague

…and the worst…

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The State of the Reader: 6/21/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/14/17          The State of the Reader: 6/28/17–>

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. Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey: Kept – I’ve only read one book that involved Mercedes Lackey, and it was a collaboration with Piers Anthony, If I Pay Thee Not in GoldThis held my interest enough to give it a try.
  2. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco: Kept (RWTR) – This is currently one of the many books with giveaway contests on Goodreads.  I doubt I’ll win, but I’d buy I plan to buy it eventually anyway.  It’s so beautifully written with such a dark premise.
  3. Darkness on the Edge of Town by Brian Keene: Passed – This comes off as overly religious and preachy.  I love religious symbolism, but this book seems like it’s going to have some judgmental moral at the end of it as to why the town is shrouded in darkness, and I just have no interest.
  4. The Young Elites by Marie Lu: Kept (RWTR) – I saw this book in Target a few months ago, but didn’t make the purchase because I wasn’t sure.  I regret not doing so.  The beginning is haunting as the main character Adelina overhears her father literally sell her to a merchant in order to pay off his debts, because no other man would want her due to the ravages of the “blood fever.”
  5. The Many Selves of Katherine North by Emma Green: Passed – The beginning is very confusing and jumbled.  I’m guessing the author wants to introduce the premise of what it feels like to “jump” into the minds of other species, but that’s already enough of an odd concept that obfuscating it even more makes the narrative damn near impossible to follow.  I was hoping for something akin to how GRRM describes warging in ASOIAF, but the beginning of this book is unfortunately a convoluted mess.  The blurb sounds really interesting, and I hate to pass on it, but it really lost me at the start.
  6. The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer: Kept (RWTR) – I’m surprised by this one.  I thought I was going to pass on it and didn’t consider it would wind up on my really-want-to-read list, but the way the people of this fantastic version of Venice are subjugating and abusing mythical creatures such as mermaids and stone lions calls for a great reckoning.
  7. Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: Kept (RWTR) – This book was fascinating from the start.  Set in the Gold Rush Era, the main character is a girl who can sense gold, yet her family is still struggling.  Her father has some kind of ailment, and her parents don’t seem as overjoyed with her ability as you’d think.  I’m guessing because if anyone knows about it, they’d try to exploit her, and this seems to be the catalyst of the story.
  8. A Thread in the Tangle by Sabrina Flynn: Kept – I think if I hadn’t added the last two books to my really-want-to-read list I would’ve added this one, too.  Sometimes I reconsider and do that later, if a story stays with me, because this one is introduces some fantastic dynamics.  The one character (who appears to be more than human) is clearly not afraid of the emperor, and he seems to care far more about the monarch’s daughter than her father does (what is the title for an emperor’s daughter anyway?  I guess you could still use princess), seeing as the emperor is threatening to lock a four year old in the dungeon until she can be sold.  WTF.
  9. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender: Kept (RWTR) – This book is a dream to someone who loves both magical realism and angels.  The main character may not be one for true, but having the wings of a bird is close enough for me.  The  language is lush and beautiful, and this is firmly on my to-buy-next shelf.  I could’ve purchased it on Kindle, but this is one of the novels I want to own a physical copy of.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $16.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

Title: Tigana
Author: Guy Gavriel Kay
Date Added: February 9, 2016
Date Purchased: June 17, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $22.00
Retailer: Barnes & Noble

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The State of the Reader: 6/14/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/7/17          The State of the Reader: 6/21/17–>

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. Starglass by Phoebe North: Kept – I kept it, but I didn’t read that much of the sample.  Too many dead mom feels :\
  2. The Passage by Justin Cronin: Kept (RWTR) – I would’ve bought this had it not been so expensive.  Stories this immersive come along once in a blue moon, and the brief sample painted a picture I wish more people could understand: how poverty, domestic abuse, and lack of support utterly destroys lives.  Some people have no one to turn to when everything goes wrong, and they are driven to make undesirable choices when in reality there is none.
  3. Everlost by Neal Shusterman: Kept – I took it off my really-want-to-read list because the language is a bit juvenile, and I was expecting it to be more profound.  I think it’s more mid-grade than YA, so the author chose simpler language I suppose.
  4. Anomalies by Sadie Turner & Colette Freedman: Passed – Just rereading the blurb again told me this would have to blow me away with its prose for me to keep it.  It didn’t and the title makes me think it’s going to be in a similar vein to Divergent, which I was lukewarm on anyway, so this is going into my passed bin.
  5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton: Kept – The gentle writing in this reminded me of how the early 1900 were romanticized, not how they really are.  While that narrative isn’t true, there is still a beauty in the lie.
  6. Fire, Fury, Faith by N. D. Jones: Kept – There’s a dearth of paranormal romance that features people of color, so I like to support whenever I can.  Plus this is about angels, my favorite thing ever.
  7. Alchemy of Stone by Ekaterina Sedia: Kept – The writing is lush and pretty, and there’s something endearing about the android main character Mattie.
  8. Among Others by Jo Walton: Kept – Though the blurb puts this book into the fantasy genre, what I’ve read so far could just be considered magical realism or even magical wishism.  Nothing particularly magical has happened or rather the supposed magical thing could be chalked up to coincidence.  The language of the writing and the fact the main character loves reading sci-fi has me intrigued.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: Gaslight Hades
Series Title: The Bonekeeper Chronicles
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Purchased: June 11, 2017

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

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The State of the Reader: 6/7/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/31/17          The State of the Reader: 6/14/17–>

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 Names by Don DeLillo: Passed – I read White Noise by the same author in my postmodern literature class, and I loved it, but this one just didn’t catch me at all.
  2. All Fall Down by Christine Pope: Kept – I love the main character’s blunt, no-nonsense voice.  It works perfectly for her role.  I also love that she’s a doctor in a medieval fantasy setting, and she’s respected as such for the most part.  The only people who don’t respect her are the slaver’s who’ve captured her, obviously.  She makes it a point to say that her order values science so she’s not like the religious healers they compare her to.
  3. The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater: Kept – It didn’t strike me as hard as The Raven Boys, but Maggie Stiefvater still has this way about her writing that’s just so alluring.
  4. Truthwitch by Susan Dennard: Passed – I really wanted to like this one.  I talked myself into adding it after seeing it pop up in my newsfeed a few times.  I won’t say I should’ve just passed on it without giving it a try, because you never know, but the story just doesn’t grab me.
  5. Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds: Kept – The mystery of what killed off this alien civilization almost a million years ago overrides my dislike of the main character.  He could just be driven, but if there’s something called a “razorstorm” coming your way, it seems logical that you’d want to get yourself and people out of there.  I’m also wondering if this is a Reaper like situation.
  6. Alive by Scott Sigler: Kept (RWTR) – Holy shit does this story drag you into a world of fear of confusion.  The main character starts off locked in a coffin, and she has to fight her way out.  She finds herself in a room with 11 other caskets and a plaque by hers with “M. Savage” on it, which is all she knows of her name.  I want to know what’s going on.
  7. The Archived by Victoria Schwab: Kept (RWTR) – If this hadn’t been so expensive, I would’ve bought it immediately.  The Archived in question are the dead, and the story starts out with two deaths and a whole bunch of secrets.
  8. The Crow Box by Nikki Rae: Kept/Purchased – I wasn’t as excited about this one as the above, but it was interesting and not that expensive.  The main character Corbin (which sounds a bit like corvus, the Latin word for crow) is plagued by a voice she doesn’t know is real or fake.  She worries about her mental health in seeing her mother’s struggles, and there’s a little poem in the beginning that suggests this is a kind of ghost story.

Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Saga, Volume 5
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 6, 2017
Date Purchased: June 6, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $7.35
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 5/31/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/24/17          The State of the Reader: 6/7/17–>

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 Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmburg: Kept/Purchased – Interesting enough to warrant a read.  The main character wants to work with steel, but her teacher informs her they don’t have enough paper magicians, so that’s where she’s going to apprentice.  It’s making me think of this anime that I’ve never seen, but I know is about a character who can manipulate   paper.  Read or Die, I think that’s the name of it?  Since the book was cheap on Kindle, I also purchased it.  I can never tell whether or not the price is static or on sale.
  2. Dawn of Wonder by Jonathan Renshaw: Passed – This is going to sound awful, and lord knows I understand how frustrating market saturation is, but I just don’t feel like reading a story where the main character is a young man with a fated destiny.  If the writing had pulled me in, I’d probably consider it, but it wasn’t really my style.
  3. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones: Kept – I liked the language/writing style, so me keeping this seems counter to what I said above, because this one seems like a “young man with a fated destiny” story, too, but the focus seems to be more on his more talented, witchy sister.
  4. Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen: Kept – I’ve been only reading a page of two of my samples (unless they’re like Radiance and I can’t put it down) before I make my decision if I’m going to keep it, and this one about a talented young singer trying to live in the cold of her opera diva mother’s shadow seems worthy of my time.
  5. The Greenstone Grail by Amanda Hemingway: Kept – Again I only read a few pages of this, but I’ve read the author before under her other name Jan Siegel.  She wrote Prospero’s Children with that moniker, and I loved that series, so I’m sure I’ll find this novel more than adequate. Interesting…so I went to add the link for this, and I have the book on my TBR list twice: once under Jan Siegel and once under Amanda Hemingway.  Let me check Amazon to see what name she’s using…it’s under Hemingway so that’s what I’m going to keep.
  6. The Book of Earth by Marjorie B, Kellogg: Kept – The sleeping dragons keeping the balance instantly reminded me of Mother 3, though in that there was just one, but seven pins (or swords?) that you had to draw in order to awaken it.  I like the unconventional young noble lady, too, even though that’s a tried trope as well.
  7. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: Kept (RWTR) – This book is everything I could ask for.  Fairy enchantment in a world where iPods exist.  I love the blending of either genres or when genres take place in non-traditional time periods (most people think of sword and sorcery or high fantasy that generally occurs in some medieval era), and the fact that there’s a mother so bad ass she not only figured out her baby was a changeling, but refused to give the fae child back when the fairy woman returned her own.
  8. Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow: Kept by Jessica Day George: Kept (RWTR) – I’d already had this on my really-want-to-read list.  I love stories about the dark, cold north (I mean my favorite story’s beginning and conclusion occurs in the north, and depending on how ASOIAF concludes, I may be double talking), and I love fairy tales.  This story does both.
  9. Ice by Sarah Beth Durst: Kept (RWTR) – I was surprised, but not upset to find this book takes place in more modern times where research teams are sent to the Arctic and snow mobiles exist.  Stories like this usually have the quality of disbelief for its characters in seeing magic happen before their eyes, so they share something with those who are reading the tale.  If this book and the prior had been less expensive, I would’ve bought them immediately.
  10. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau: Kept (RWTR) – This was one of those samples that only had a few pages, but I am beyond curious to know what’s going on with it.  It starts off with a prologue, which is always a risky move in any story, but it explains how 200 years ago, the builders of the eponymous city left instructions for the people, and they were supposed to be passed down through successive generations, held by the cities mayors, but one of the mayors was corrupted, took home the box the instructions were housed in, and tried to break it open with a hammer.  The sample stopped there, but I want to know why these builders said the people would have to say hidden for at least 200 years.  What the hell happened to the surface above?
  11. The Bird and the Sword by Amy Harmon: Kept – Even though I’m worried this book might be a touch on the religious side (as in favoring one over the other), I’m still interested in what the daughter does with her mother’s gift.
  12. Adventure Begins by Colin Dann: Kept – So I actually downloaded a different book from the one I had on my TBR list.  I had The Animals of Farthing Wood there or something like that, but I think this one is the first in the series?  I’m not really sure, but since this is what I downloaded, and since it seems to be the first in a series, this is the one I’m going to keep.  Going by my rules of one author per book on my TBR list, I removed Animals for this.  The premise is interesting and definitely something I would’ve read in my younger days.  There’s a feud between the foxes and the otters, because the otters have encroached on the foxes’ hunting territory due to a shortage of fish in the stream.  This issue is further compounded by the fact that otters are rare in this part of England (?), so wherever they live has been declared a sanctuary by humans who won’t chop down and develop the wood due to their presence.  The otters know this and take advantage of it, so I’m curious how the foxes are going to resolve this dilemma.

Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Paper Magician
Series Title: The Paper Magician Trilogy
Author: Charlie N. Holmberg
Date Added: June 17, 2016
Date Purchased: May 25, 2017

Paper Magician, The

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.50
Retailer: Amazon

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Final Fantasy Friday: Fashionistas and Fancy Fellows

Final Fantasy Friday

A few days ago an article popped up in my Facebook memories, concerning the garb of a certain Final Fantasy hero and how utterly outlandish it was.  Regardless what you think of this character, it’s hard to argue with that logic, nor am I against calling out fashion faux pas wherever they might happen to fall.

Also, just to note, I’m extremely picky about my parody.  If you’re going to make fun of something, do it in a way that isn’t just bashing it.  Good parody will poke at the known ridiculous aspects of a work without vilifying its value.  I’ve seen too many parody/satire sites that miss the mark and go overboard with it.  They’re not poking fun, they’re making fun, and while it can be nuanced, there is a difference.  The linked above does the former and is quite amusing.

Anyway, the article put me in the mind of a pair of questions, the first of which I’ll post this week, and the second, which will be posted next (you will never guess what the second question is…)

Who is best dressed Final Fantasy character?

I need to think about this one for a moment, because I don’t just want automatically go with my default

*checks Pinterest and the Google*

Alright, I have a winner, but there were more runners up than I’d thought, and like so many of my posts, this became far more involved than I’d planned it to be.

Final Fantasy IV


She has spikes on her epaulets, which are usually reserved for villains, yet it doesn’t take away from her white mage aesthetic.  The one question/uncertainty I do have concerns whether or not that’s her underwear we’re seeing…


She looks like a fairy princess and kind of is, considering the king and queen of the Feymarch pretty much adopted her.

Final Fantasy VI


Her general’s garb is so elegant, and yes, she could still lay you to waste and not muss her outfit for the evening.

Final Fantasy VII


I’m a goth myself, so my hot general running around in leather bondage gear looking like a runway model is what my dreams are made of ♥♥♥  Plus, you just can’t go wrong with black and silver.

Final Fantasy VIII


A leather jacket lined in wolf’s (?) fur is never going to go out of style (so long as the fur is faux in real life).


The long coat with the Templar crosses is some fashionable foreshadowing to his romantic dream of becoming the Sorceress’s Knight.

Final Fantasy IX


Everyone’s outfit in FFIX is pretty freaking ridiculous.  Zidane is wearing cuffs with no sleeves, Kuja is rocking a thong, I don’t know what the fuck Eiko is wearing, and we’re not even going to talk about Quina, but Beatrix once again shows that generals know how to dress.

Final Fantasy X


Belts for a skirt in a fur lined dress paired with pale skin, that hair, purple lips, and the attitude make for one bad ass combination.


Her outfit is almost the polar opposite of Lulu’s: modest where the mage is revealing, youthful where Lulu is mature.

Final Fantasy XII


The most Han Solo character of the Final Fantasy universe, he’s kicking ass and taking names with that vest (the story should’ve focused on him and Fran, speaking of…)


Fran pretty much allowed us to see bunnies as sexy, though I suppose arguably Playboy did that already.  Fran did it better, and more literally.  Have  you fucking seen her shoes??

And the winner is…

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The State of the Reader: 1/4/17

<–The State of the Reader: 12/28/16          The State of the Reader: 1/11/17–>

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 Currently Reading: 4

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 48%

I’m pretty sure I read a bit of this this week, but not enough to move the percentage needle.  I’m currently at a part where the greatest concern seems to be a false king and a secret paternity.  The prince of the new tribes believes his father to be one man, but he’s actually someone else, and this particular individual (along with the prince) is one of seven survivors of the Welsh’s war with the Irish.  Intriguing much.

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: June 15, 2016
Date Started: November 20, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 61%

You know it’s bad when the first sex scene between the characters does nothing for you, and their parting doesn’t move your heart one bit.  I don’t feel too bad giving this away, since it’s a general staple of romance narratives.  They fuck and they part, though not necessarily in that order in every narrative.  My biggest issue with this story is how abruptly Feyre and Tamlin fell in love.  It went from her having no interest in him to being head over heels for the High Lord.  There was little to no progression in the feeling, nor was any attraction painting prior to Chapter 18.  The one good thing I can say about this (and it’s kind of selfish but…) is I’m going to be extra diligent about such a paradigm when I reedit my own paranormal romance.  My biggest fear with stories like that is the romance doesn’t seem authentic, and that’s the problem I’m running into here, because there wasn’t adequate build up in the beginning.  I’m more than halfway through and still curious about what’s causing the blight.  The dialogue is at least well written and fairly witty, so there’s that to its credit.

Title: The Raven Boys
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 21, 2015
Date Started: January 1, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 10%

I received a Kindle Fire for Christmas from my in-laws, and I absolutely adore it.  I was looking into purchasing one myself, since they’re only around $50, which is more than fair for a tablet.  I don’t see the need to drop $300-$500 on an iPad, when I’m really just paying for the name.  The Fire has 16G of space, and I’ve been using it to read and watch Let’s Plays on YouTube.  I downloaded a few apps as well, and may get one of those games you can play with your cat, because I’m that kind of person.

I prefaced with this because the KF is how I’m reading the above book, and I absolutely love it.  The main character Blue is a non-psychic in a family of female clairvoyants, but she’s always brought to a churchyard every year with her mother as the soon-to-be-dead march past.  She’s apparently an amplifier, even though she can’t see them herself. Well that changes (of course) this year when Maura (Blue’s mom) is replaced by Neeve, Blue’s aunt.  Blue sees a dying boy named Gansey who goes to the rich kid’s school in their town of Henrietta.  She usually stays away from them, but of course now the young woman is drawn into their world.

I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Steifvater’s writing ever since I read the first few chapters of Shiver.  It was a gift for a friend so I was never able to finish it (it, too, is on my extensive list).  The instant I read the sample for this, I knew I’d have to download it, and since I’ve taken to reading a chapter (or more) on my lunch break, I’m certain I’ll finish soon.

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: 8%

Lately to escape how terrible things are (and going to be) down here on Earth, I’ve been watching/listening to YouTube videos about quantum physics, astrophysics, dark matter, dark energy, the origin of the universe, neutron stars, the end of everything, and the like.  It makes my brain waves flutter especially when I consider eternity and the fact that nothing really matters (but ironically within that everything does).  While I erroneously think I’m smart enough to study such things, I at least know I need a remedial crash course, and Mr. Hawking’s Universe in a Nutshell is a fine beginning.  I actually started reading this book years ago, but like many things, put it to the side, and didn’t pick it back up until now.  It’s written in very rudimentary language for the average person to understand.  It’s a good starting point if you’re curious about life, the universe, and everything.  I’d also recommend reading Douglas Adams’s Live, the Universe, and Everything, as well.

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

I’m seriously worried about my friend runicmagitek, and I sincerely hope that she’s just been so busy with the holidays that she hasn’t had time to check her tumblr.  It’s the only way I have of contacting her (especially since AO3 doesn’t have a messaging system).  This is what is a bit sucky and often terrible about online friendships.  If something happens to someone you only have the barest of information about, you’ll never really know.  Not that I’m a stalker or a creeper, but I am a worrier.  Here’s to hoping I hear something soon ;_;

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0

Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Dissonance
Series Title: Dissonance
Author: Erica O’Rourke
Date Added: December 30, 2016

This was a lucky find as I was scrolling through my Goodreads.  I’m fascinated by alternate universes and sort of subscribe to the multiverse theory.  I believe it’s a possibility, and there’s been some scientific evidence to support.  Until such a day when we have concrete proof, I shall take these inventive little tales about a heroine who can navigate between these realities, keeping the dimensions in harmony.

Title: Gilded Cage
Series Title: Dark Gifts
Author: Vic James
Date Added: December 30, 2016

The commons serving the elite is nothing new in story or reality.  The only difference in this tale is the elite’s power is magical as well as monetary.  All commoners must serve them for ten years, and the protagonist, Abi, is in servitude to England’s most powerful family.  In true Stockholm Syndrome fashion, she falls for one of the noble-born sons (ah hypergamy).  I’m not averse to stories with well used tropes.  I feel that messages can become more powerful in repeat.

Kim of By Hook or By Book brought up a decent critique about diversity in her review here (which is why I added this in the first place), but I’m hoping that won’t detract too much from the overall message of the story.

Title: The Blackwell Family Secret: The Guardians of Sin
Author: Jonathan L. Ferrara
Date Added: January 1, 2017

After finishing The Ghost of Buxton Manor, I went to Mr. Ferrara’s Goodreads’ page, following him as an author and added his other book.  I also tweeted him my love of his story, followed his (and Aaron’s) YouTube page (I already follow their WordPress), and discovered there’s going to be a sequel to Ghost.  In the interim, I believe I’ll read up on the true history of Rupert Buxton and Michael Davies, while I work on my Ghost review.

The Guardians of Sin appears to be another paranormal adventure involving spirits and secrets, also guardian angels, serpents, and the unleashing of the Seven Deadly Sins, so I’m now even more interested.

Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexander Dumas
Date Added: January 4, 2017

The most memorable reference I have for this book is from the movie V for Vendetta, where the titular character, played by Hugo Weaving, shows it to his “captive” Evey, played by Natalie Portman.  I know it has a happy ending (or at least the movie does), and I know from the blurb it’s about a man falsely imprisoned.  The reason I added it now is because of a comment on Deviant Art about The Broken Rose.  One of my readers was wondering if the story was going to take a Monte Cristo angle to which I (internet) laughed and responded that I’d never read it, but I’d have to add it to my TBR list (huh…the abbreviation for “to be read” and The Broken Rose are exactly the same.  That’s hilarious).  She replied that the novel was a bid stodgy, and I might want to entertain myself with the movie.  I figure I’ll give the book a try though.  I could always use more classics for my list.

Title: The Lie Tree
Author: Frances Hardinge
Date Added: January 4, 2017

A tale of a tree that will give you truth for every lie, and the bigger the lie, the greater the truth.  I’m also interested in the incongruence of a main character named Faith who thirsts for science and secrets, and the secret of the tree is too great for her to resist.  Drawn into the search by her disgraced father’s journals, Faith enters a world of lies, danger, and the truth that can unbind it all.

Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Date Added: January 4, 2017

The book channeled both a Cinderella vibe with the dead mother replaced with a cruel stepmother and ASOIAF with it’s fairy tales about Frost, a blue-eyed winter demon.  It seems to spin itself like a meta-fairy tale.  There’s an even deeper ASOIAF connection as Vasilisa and her siblings’ nursemaid warned them to keep the old rituals and honor the spirits of house, yard, and forest in order to protect their home from evil and keep dark things at bay (e.g. Craster in Song), but the stepmother forbids it.  The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa seems to know that more hinges on the rituals than mere rote.  I’m a sucker for a good fairy tale, and I love stories that mix paradigms with others I already love.  I have a feeling the stepmother may be an agent of Frost or something like that or Frost may not be as terrible as he seems.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: +6
Change from Last Week: 540

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

Books Purchased This Week: 10

I received all of the books I ordered from Amazon in between last week’s post and this week’s.  I believe I usually do the full breakdown, but owing to the fact I have ten books to add, I’m just going to cite the title, author, brief comment, and a link to the SOTR where I included it, if available;  I’ll just link to Goodreads if not.

  1. The Sword of Maiden’s Tears by Rosemary Edghill – I remember exactly why I wanted this one.  Check this description in the blurb:  “He was tall, with long, silvery hair, catlike eyes…” DONE.  That’s all I needed.  Added and bought as soon as I could find it.
  2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab – I recall downloading a sample of this and loving both the language and the story.  Even though I didn’t finish that excerpt, with books I’m sure of, I don’t always have to.  There are three realities, and the protagonist can traverse them all (this sounds similar to the Dissonance added above.  Again, I love stories of the multiverse).
  3. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – There are just way too many amazing things about this book to adequately put into words, and I haven’t even read it yet.  It twists the story of the wicked witch, the stolen child, and the admirable hero on its head, throwing in magic by moonlight, and the “girl” in question looks brown on the cover.  Yassss.
  4. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – Thanks to social media, I already know what the allegory for this is about, and I’m hoping that’s not going to spoil it too much.  I won’t reveal what I know just in case it is, since knowledge given can never be taken back.  Ah, I just read the blurb about the main character’s mother receiving her “treatments,” so it may not be as big of a spoiler as I thought.  The last line of it still twists cold through my heart.  “This monster is something different, something ancient, something wild.  And it wants the truth.” *shivers*
  5. The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente – I have a hit or miss relationship with Ms. Valente.  Okay, so really on one miss (Palimpsest), and one I’m going to give another chance (In the Cities of Coin and Spice [The Orphan’s Tales #2]).  The title itself intrigues me, and while I was a bit lukewarm on the sample, I still have high hopes.
  6. Prospero Lost by L. Jagi Lamplight – It wasn’t just the silver haired lady on the front cover (though I have to admit that was a draw), but also my love of stories set in modern times with historical, magical undertones.  Because let’s face it, those immortal beings are still going to be around, and how would they fit into our current age?  Also, the title is a clear homage to Milton’s Paradise Lost so there’s that.
  7. Dying of the Light by George R R Martin – Of course my favorite author is going to have a place on this purchased list.  My goal is to read all of his stories (not necessarily this year, but in my lifetime).  Like many of Martin’s stories, this one contains a jilted lover set on a world similar to ours just slightly off kilter.  The oddity in Dying is the perpetual twilight, a trope I’ve seen used in Final Fantasy IX with the city of Treno, and in WOFF as well.  I’m actually in the Eclipsed Region right now.  If there was every a land for me, that would be it.
  8. When the Moon Was Ours by Anna Marie McLemore – Another moon based fairy tale steeped in roses, silver, and magical realism.  There aren’t nearly enough books of that latter ilk.  It’s difficult to do.  To ride that line between fantasy and reality.  Make people believe the wonders are just out of sight.  What a lovelier world this would be if that were only so.
  9. Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter – Something about the title of this sparked my interest.  If you couldn’t tell from the moon based stories I have on this list, I’m a bit of a night creature.  If you dig enough to peel off the first layer, it’s easy to see how my two favorite series (Final Fantasy and ASOIAF) are quite a bit moon obsessed, too.  It’s not so much the moon per se as the night it often lights.  I also have this fascination with “night in the city” motifs.  What am I talking about?  I don’t really know how to explain, but as much as I love bucolic settings in fantasy, I do enjoy urban ones if done to my specifications.  I’m not really a fan of urban fantasy, rather I like when urban settings are made fantastic, if you get what I mean.  Magical cities a la mythopoetic New York as seen in Helprin’s Winter’s Tale.  Vassa seems to hum to that same melody invoking Russian folklore and what appears to be a manifestation of Baba Yaga.
  10. Locke & Key, Vol 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez – I need to up my comic book reading game, and there’s no time like the present.  I was actually in a comic book store on New Year’s Day and saw this along with Saga.  I considered picking up Saga, but it was $50 for the first volume!  I guess the Saga will not continue.  I’m not sure how I’m going to fit comics/graphic novels into my reading cycle.  If I’m going to read them alongside my regular four or use them as my fantasy/general fiction.  The latter is sounding more feasible unless the elder gods compel me otherwise…

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: 12/28/16          The State of the Reader: 1/11/17–>