Two Hearts by Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn #1.5)

Title: Two Hearts
Series: The Last Unicorn
Author: Peter S. Beagle
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 27, 2018
Date Finished: August 10, 2018
Reading Duration: 14 Days
Genre: Short Story, Fantasy

Cover of Two Hearts by Peter S. BeaglePages: 36
Publication Date: October 2005
Publisher: Online
Media: Website


Coda to The Last Unicorn – a novelette. Available for free on the author’s website.


Do not be ashamed of me because I am old.

If there was one work of fiction or fantasy I would recommend to everyone, it would be The Last Unicorn.  Ahead of its time and meta before meta was cool, it is not your typical fairy tale even though it contains all the elements: a mythic creature, a forlorn quest, an evil king, a hero prince.  Yet, there was an elusive awareness embodied in all of the characters not hitherto seen , as if they, too, were aware they lived in a story, but even with this knowledge, they were still beholden to the rules, tedious though they might be.  Written and published in the late 60’s, Beagle professes it took two years to write, and “it was hard every step of the way.”

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James & the Dragon by Theresa Snyder (The Farloft Chronicles #1)

Title: James & the Dragon
Series Title: The Farloft Chronicles
Author: Theresa Snyder
Date Added: February 23, 2016
Date Started: February 15, 2018
Date Finished: February 19, 2018
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Fantasy, Mid-Grade/Young Adult (YA), Short Story

James & the Dragon coverPages: 61
Publication Date: June 21, 2013
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle


What would you do if you were adopted by a dragon? When ten-year-old orphan James nearly drowns in a bog, he finds himself rescued by Farloft, a centuries old dragon with a glittering collection of treasures and an even richer collection of stories. But, dragons and boys are not meant to live together – or are they? When Laval – a wizard harboring a secret hatred for Farloft finds out about James, he sees his chance for revenge.


Farloft the dragon in instantly likable with his sound arguments and fascinating stories, although it’s unfair to ignore his nemesis, Laval’s, point of view.  The wizard has very sound reasons for hating the dragon, though Farloft’s prior actions were based on even more past experience, nor could he have known the unfortunate outcome.

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Krim Du Shaw by Talia Haven

Title: Krim Du Shaw
Author: Talia Haven
Illustrator: Sytiva Sheehan
Date Added: February 16, 2016
Date Started: February 14, 2018
Date Finished: February 14, 2018
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fantasy, Short Story

Krim Du Shaw coverPages: 6
Publication Date: January 4, 2016
Publisher: Sheehan and Haven
Media: eBook/Kindle


Krim was just a colt when the stallions of the Du Shaw herd led him and the mares to the stone building with its tall walls and heavy wooden door. The mares knew what the stallions yearned for, and they knew what would happen if the stallions gave in. But for Krim, it would be much later before he would discover for himself what lies beyond the stone wall.


One of the most original stories about unicorns I’ve ever read.  Quick and heartbreaking with no light or fluff to be found.  It was short, sweet, and brutal.  I liked how the value of the horn was never explicitly stated, and I liked how only the stallions yearned for a virgin’s touch (the mares knew better).  For six pages and $0.99, it has an impact you feel upon retrospect, and I’m surprised that some Goodreads users have it listed under “Children’s.”

4 stars.

Parallel by Anthony Vicino

Title: Parallel
Author: Anthony Vicino
Date Added: May 9, 2015
Date Started: November 19, 2017
Date Finished: December 12, 2017
Reading Duration: 23 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Novella

Parallel by Anthony VicinoPages: 94
Publication Date: November 17, 2014
Publisher: One Lazy Robot
Media: eBook/Kindle


Hari and Gerald tore a hole in space and time. It’s a small hole, but it’s a big problem. A pinprick to a new Dimension. Too small for either Hari or Gerald to fit through, but it looks pretty. They’re about to learn that pretty things can be very dangerous.

Ryol, Ambassador to the Lenoreans, must investigate the Rift on behalf of the Alliance. What she finds there could usher in the destruction of every world she’s ever known.

Time is running out for the Lenoreans to discover more of the precious energy source that powers their world. Perched upon the brink of calamity their fate is inextricably tied with Earth’s. Now, with the fate of both worlds in her hands, Falia must decide which planet to save.


In opening a portal to another dimension, two scientists arouse the attention of a far more advanced alien species, the Lenoreans, with an interest in whether or not our planet has the energy their world needs to survive.  These aliens have technology that allows them to divide their attention/consciousness between numerous tasks, so the character Ryol could be having a conversation with you while simultaneously monitoring several integral systems on the Lenorean home world in addition to paying attention to events on other planets.  They can also alter their biochemistry to survive on otherwise uninhabitable landscapes and restructure their minds to cope with new stimuli.  In short, if they wanted our planet, they could easily take it.  The only thing that slightly annoyed me about these aliens was that Ryol was describe as “tall and blonde” because of course she’d have to be.  Them looking human/being humanoid is perfectly understandable in the scope of the story, but there’s no reason aliens always have to fit the most privileged model.

The story itself was fantastic.  It didn’t go at all how I expected, and the author pulled no punches at the close, leaving an ending that while hopeful was still bittersweet.

4.5 stars.

The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Started: September 28, 2017
Date Finished: October 1, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale, Short Story, YA/Mid-Grade

The Diamond Tree coverPages: 70
Publication Date: July 12, 2010
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Media: eBooks/Kindle


Dall is eager to prove himself a worthy prince, but what do you do when your older brothers have already slain every dragon and rescued all the princesses? You heed the advice of an old woman and set off on a quest! When Dall starts finding diamonds along the way, he discovers his quest may have a more unique ending than he had planned. Ages 6-12 and great for parents to read with their children.


This is a cute, little fairy tale with all the proper elements.  I could’ve done with a bit of something different from the typical Rescue Romance, but there might have been some Tarot references within concerning main character Prince Dall (The Fool), a literal Hanged Man, and a wise old woman who could play the part of The Hermit.  Regardless of its foibles and cliches, it was a fun, quick read.

3 stars.

Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: Red as Blood and White as Bone
Author: Theodora Goss
Date Started: August 16, 2017
Date Finished: August 19, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Short Story

The cover of Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora GossPages: 30
Publication Date: May 4, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Media: eBook/Kindle


Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss is a dark fantasy about a kitchen girl obsessed with fairy tales, who upon discovering a ragged woman outside the castle during a storm, takes her in–certain she’s a princess in disguise.


The day you find out the fairy tales aren’t true is the most painful revelation of childhood.  It flows along the same continuum of the Santa Claus and Easter Bunny myths, though those can be more readily accepted as children’s stories with their more mythical elements (among other things).  Like my previous reviewRed as Blood and White as Bone is a fairy tale retelling, but unlike Shadows on Snow, Ms. Goss’ retelling seethes with the darkness of reality and broken dreams.  While fairy tales obviously have magic, there are still things that could ostensibly take place in the real world such as dispossessed princes and orphans of unknown royalty.  Who among us can claim to have never wished for such a special status?  To be more than what we’d been told we were?  More than we could ever dream?  This is the paradigm the author shatters vicariously through Klara, the kitchen girl who believes she’s found a lost princess.

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Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh

Title: Stone & Iris
Author: Jonathan Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: May 25, 2017
Date Started: July 1, 2017
Date Finished: July 5, 2017
Reading Duration: 4 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction

Pages: 32
Publication Date: January 10, 2016
Publisher: Self
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: SOMA, The Matrix


A mysterious breakthrough brings Alison Shaw to the edge of her vanishing world. Everything she knows will soon be gone—everything except the memory of an unlikely friend. But is their bond strong enough for her to hold on to? And is a memory worth living for when nothing else is left?

This book was gifted to me personally by the author, but I still write my review with critical awareness and in good faith, though I suppose it remains entirely possible, if not probable, that I have some unconscious biases based on our cordial rapport and friendly correspondences.  I believe writers need to support one another, giving critiques when necessary and giving credit when and where it’s due.
I had to read Stone & Iris twice in order to understand it.  This is one of the best things any story can force me to do in regards to being ingenious enough to require knowledge of the end in order to comprehend the underlying intricacies of the plot.  I hesitate to divulge too much detail, since uncovering the truth about Alison, Jeremy, and David is the core revelation that leaves you reeling, and it more than likely will require at least two reads.  Since the story is only 32 pages, it’s not a lengthy foray per se, but if you want to understand what really happened, it will require more than just a pondering skim.
Though it doesn’t take place within Ballagh’s Quantum Worlds Series, Stone nevertheless lays a foundation for it, and it could be considered the precursor to the artifex (the androids in his fore mentioned Quantum Worlds duology) and AI technology.  The narrative appears to be confusing, because it’s supposed to be.  Certain characters switch roles in seemingly nonsensical ways that nevertheless have valid reasons.  Writing a story that is purposely haphazard is no easy feat, because you’re seeking to deliberately confuse the reader so that they will wonder why they’re confused.
The author told me that Stone & Iris is the work he’s most proud of, and that pride is more than warranted.  It’s a calculated yet bittersweet story about consciousness and reality that shows the lengths to which we will cling to what we truly love.
5 stars.

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A Father’s Protection by K. J. Hawkins (Tales of Ferrês #1)

Title: A Father’s Protection
Series Title: Tales of Ferrês
Author: K. J. Hawkins
Date Added: October 21, 2015
Date Started: May 26, 2017
Date Finished: May 26, 2017
Reading Duration: 1 day
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Animal Fantasy, Short Story

Pages: 9
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Media: eBook/Kindle

The land beyond The Forest of Ferrês belongs to the kyres mortal enemies the twin-tailed foxes. Standing on the borders DarkDeath will have to plunge into the unknown to save his adventurous pup.

Will he be able to find Digger and make it out alive? The battle to protect his own will be tested when DarkDeath faces off against an old rival. Death lingering over his pup’s head will test his strengths as DarkDeath braces himself for battle.


This was a quick, little read about telepathic wolves whose mortal enemies are twin tailed foxes.

(I really tried to find a picture of a Hanj, the two tailed fox from Miracle Warriors: Seal of the Dark Lord, but no luck.  I will say Hungry Goriya’s blog was one of the first links to come up though, so you lady are associated with the game by Google, which is one of the highest honors :D)

The story is mostly predictable and easily given away in the blurb.  We know DarkDeath’s son, Digger, is missing and that his father is going to face off against one of the two-tailed foxes.  I wasn’t surprised DarkDeath won (nor do I really count this as a spoiler, because it’s obvious he’s going to), but I wasn’t expecting *spoiler* their ability to shift into human form,*end spoiler* and the telepathy was a nice bonus.  It reminded me a bit of ASOIAF, though obviously the Stark children can’t shift into wolves physically, just mentally, and Bran’s greenseer powers are more psychic and less telepathic, but they’re along the same continuum.

This short story didn’t do anything new, but it did add some more fantasy elements to established paradigms.  I’d more than likely give the next book in the series a try especially since the first one was so inexpensive on Kindle.

3 stars.

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The State of the Writer: 10/22/16

<–The State of the Writer: 10/15/16          The State of the Writer: 10/29/16–>

A weekly post updated every Saturday 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: 279,446
Prior Word Count: 280,583
Word Difference: -1137
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st Edit of Chapter 6

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The picture is yet another option considered for the chapter cover.  I liked the house in the background, but (and this sounds so petty), it isn’t on the side I envision it to be in the story.  The scene they’re in where it’s visible from the beach, the estate is more directly behind them not that far off to the right.

Chapter 6 is quite challenging to edit.  It’s about as long as Chapter 3 at 25 pages (the third chapter has 26) and may actually have more or equal due to the additions.  Regardless, it’s extremely heavy and verbose, and I’m trying to whittle down the latter as I’ve noticed some repeats.  I don’t want to use the same phrase or word order too often as that will make a dull read, though repetition of safety’s assurance is an important aspect of trauma recovery.

I thought I would’ve discussed the chapter title in my opening post about it, but looking back it appears I haven’t.  Heaven’s Gate is the name of the house/estate.  It can be taken in two ways and indeed is viewed different by Aeris and Sephiroth.  In being “Heaven’s Gate,” it could be considered the gateway to heaven/paradise, but there’s also the implication that it’s not quite heaven, but rather the farthest he as a fallen angel can go.  Aeris; however, sees it as paradise itself as opposed to Sephiroth who views it as an edge he can never breach.

I’m on page 88 of 95 so I’m hoping to finish the first edit early next week and the second edit by early November.  If fortune favors I’ll only need to do two…though that hasn’t been the trend especially for these longer sections.

Quote: “General’s estate sounds presumptuous,” he muttered and summer opened to his endless light.  “And it’s not just mine anymore.  It’s yours, too, my Aeris.”  He squeezed her so gently, and the maid shook a quick tear from her eye.  “Your ‘palace,’ as you would say, is called *Heaven’s Gate.”*  He sighed in his turn for her look told him all.  “Not a name I chose.  It came with the house, a long time ago, when I first arrived…”


Project: Story
Title:
The Threads of Sorrow
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Retold Fairy Tale
Type: Original Short Story
Prior Word Count: 6787
Current Word Count: 6787
Word Difference: 0
Status: Critiques reviewed
Progress: On hold

I’m officially waiting until I finish editing the first six chapters of The Broken Rose before I work on this again.  I need to do the second edit based on received critiques then get myself prepared to submit.  This will be the last week I include it on this status post unless I do something with it between now and then.


Project: Essay
Title: Half a Tragedy Is Worse Than Whole
Subject: FFVII Comparative and Meta
Status: On hold
Progress: Outline Completed

The same goes for this.  It’s really hard for me to concentrate on more than one project at a time no matter how much I beat myself up.  I’m also not just working on one project as you’ll see below.  Either way, I’ll reevaluate when I’m going to work on this once the first six chapters of TBR are posted.


Project: Review
Title: Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy IV Review
Subject: Review and analysis of Final Fantasy IV
Status: In progress
Progress: Introduction drafted

final-fantasy-iv

I started prepping and writing the beginning review of this last night.  I finished up the introduction, but stopped before the Gameplay section.  All of my game reviews are broken into four parts: Gameplay, Story, Music, and Rating.  I wish I could show you the extensive notes I have for the story.  That’s going to be the most involved part.

I’m planning on working on this this evening and at least drafting the Gameplay part.  If I feel up to it, I’ll work on Story.  I’d like to say I’ll have this finished by next Friday so I can have a double Final Fantasy Friday post, but I don’t like to promise things I can’t deliver.


Project: Editing
Title: The Editing of Northern Lights – Chapter 8 and an Ocean Full of Sads
Subject: Meta-analysis
Status: Copied and pasted three weeks ago
Progress: Additional analysis, formatting and proofreading needed

It’s been a while since I’ve posted an Editing of Northern Lights because I’ve been struggling to find the best day to work on it.  I was putting it on Thursdays, but that hasn’t been working out since that’s one of my editing days.  I’ve been trying to do it on Saturdays, but I have so much catching up to do on that day, it’s been nigh on impossible.

The things is I have all of the notes for Northern Lights written.  Most of them are drafted on Google Blogger, because at the time of their creation I was posted the story on that site.  Due to lack of interest (and one nasty response) I decided to discontinue posting the story there, concentrating instead on this site, Fanfiction.net, AO3,  tumblr, and Deviant Art where there was an overwhelming amount of support.  But since I’d already drafted the Editing Blog posts (as I called it at the time) there, I figured I might as well house them on the site for safe keeping.  When I go to post the next, I go to Google Blogger, copy and paste it here, and then have to go through to fix formatting discrepancies, add in additional material, and proofread.  That second one can be the most time consuming, and (of course) I have a ton of additional notes of things I want to discuss.  Since I’ve been caught up in my current project, it’s been hard to do much of anything with this, but I definitely still want to, so this is probably going to be another I’ll try to work on once the first six chapters are posted.

Ugh, I seriously feel like that’s my life.  I’m constantly and consistently waiting for when the next project is done so I can concentrate on the next.  I wish I were better at multitasking and/or I wish I just had more time.  Well better to work on my projects than complain I think, which is what I’m going to do right now.


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: 10/15/16          The State of the Writer: 10/29/16–>

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Khalarea the Fallen by Claus Augustus Corbett (Tales of Yagath #1)

Title: Khalarea the Fallen
Series Title: Tales of Yagath
Author: Claus Augustus Corbett
Date Added: April 3, 2016
Date Started: September 19, 2016
Date Finished: October 2, 2016

Media: Kindle
Publication Date: September 8, 2015
Pages: 30

Years ago, a name was heard inside of long-forgotten ruins, and since then Astir Runia, a Calanthoren bard, has been traveling the known world searching for a truth buried by thousands of years of human history. What shadows does the name Khalarea cast now on her world? Even though she can’t answer that, Astir is finally ready to share the legend of Khalarea the Fallen with her friend, Lokart. As she makes her way to their meeting, she wonders how he’ll react to the legend, and what connection this legend has to the boy they rescued in those same ruins. Still, what weights more on her mind is not the legend in itself, but rather other texts she found during her journey, and which may point to a truth that might be even darker than they expected.


I wish I could recall who recommended this book to me.  It’s someone I met online, and the recommendation came about as we were discussing content warnings and whatnot.  She (I believe the person is female) said that her author friend took the chance to make less sales by putting a content warning on one of his books.  I was impressed by this and sought him out, buying the first book in the series for my efforts.  The warning doesn’t occur until the second book The Scarlet Mantle, which I didn’t finish, but not due to the warning.  Rather it suffers from narrative structure issues such as not establishing an integral relationship prior so when the characters met in the story, it resembled a poorly executed deus ex machina and far too convenient for the plot.

Khalarea the Fallen was…interesting.  It’s a meta story, a tale within a tale, following the lay of Astir Runia as she relates information discovered about Khalarea to her companion Lockart.  As I read ( and it didn’t take a long time since it’s only a 30 page short) I started getting that all too familiar tingle of familiarity that comes when a story shares motofs with Final Fantasy VII.  Usually, these are things that are just common fantasy tropes that, while I can tie a thread between them, are hardly unique to FFVII (or the story in question) and could therefore only serve as two examples of the same paradigm.  However, when there are a multitude of similarities, I can’t help but take notice and note.

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