The State of the Reader: 4/26/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/19/17          The State of the Reader: 5/3/17–>

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: 8

  1. (Almost) Average Anthology: Tales of Adventure, Loss, and Oddity by Jason Nugent: Passed – The writing comes off as very amateurish.  According to the blurb, the author pulled together the work he had posted on his blog, which I find very admirable; unfortunately, in execution, it reads more like a first draft or an outline, at least the first story did.
  2. Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson: Kept – I nearly teetered to the other side of the fence with this one.  There was a lot of heavy jargon in the beginning, and quite a few pages of literally listing the cast of characters.  I think the story would’ve started out much stronger if the author had begun with the first chapter, which is the reason I decided to keep it on my list.
  3. The Diamond Tree by Michael Matson: Kept (Purchased) – It’s geared towards ages 6-12 and reads like a fairy tale.  I can see myself breezing through this book.
  4. The Enchanted by Rene Denfield: Passed – It didn’t grip me for all its stream of consciousness writing.  I found it to be quite tedious if I’m being honest.  It comes with high accolades, but I don’t think it’s for me.
  5. The Glade by Harmony Kent: Kept – I was very close to putting this on my really-want-to-read list, but I’m trying to save that for books that I must have immediately, and while this was really interesting and set up a mystery with numerous plot coupons to cash in, it’s not on my must have radar.  It’s really hard for a non-fantasy book to wind up on there.
  6. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay: Kept (RWTR) – The prologue nearly brought me to tears; it was so beautifully written.  I’m a sucker for any stories that invoke the concept of memory, and the beginning of this book focused on a prince and a sculptor who were thrust into a battle they know they will not win.  It begins with the sculptor contemplating the stars on this last night and him expressing his regret that he never had the chance to sculpt his prince’s sons.  What struck me was how Mr. Kay conveyed what type of ruler this prince was in such a short amount of time.  Both of his teenage sons as well as the sculptor’s one were on the banks of that river with their fathers knowing they would all die in the morning.  He was neither a ruler who shirked his own duty nor did hide his sons away while asking his people to sacrifice their own.  Things like that are never forgotten.
  7. The Empty One by Matthew Stanley: Kept (Purchased) – I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this book written in verse, but it works…it strangely works, and it even rhymes.  Since it fulfilled my “under $2” rule, I bought it after I read enough of the sample.
  8. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – The first chapter of the sample made me a bit irritated, because it was the typical “princess has to marry a prince,” which the thirteen year old Caityn did not want to do, and to be honest, her mother was kind of gaslighting her.  I mean, I get it.  It’s what princesses are supposed to do, but I’m happy she stood her ground for as long as she did.  Then it turns out she’s quite excited to marry the prince who is a really awesome dude, and Caity and her brother have this amazing bantering, sibling relationship that reminds me of the one I have with my older brother.  Also, both the princess and the (brother) prince, while royalty, were exposed to charitable works their entire lives.  Caityn taught at a school and comforted orphans and widows, and Prince Adair (the brother) talked about a punishment where he had to serve in the scullery for a week.  I loved that.  Even though they were royalty, their parents taught them that there are consequences for misbehaving and instilled in them the idea that to rule is really to serve.  I can think of quite a few politicians who severely need that lesson.

Passed: 2
Kept: 6


Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: The Diamond Tree
Author: Michael Matson
Date Added: January 26, 2016
Date Purchased: April 22, 2017

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

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The State of the Reader: 4/19/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/12/17          The State of the Reader: 4/26/17–>

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: 8

  1. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – A slave turned rebel and an unwilling soldier.  Neither of them is free.  I can’t stop thinking of a picture I recently used, and I couldn’t stop reading the sample then I reached a part that made me say, “Holy shit, I have to buy this book immediately.”  So I did.
  2. Spelled by Betsy Schow: Passed– The writing style isn’t for me.
  3. Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror by Eden Royce: Kept– I was on the fence with this one.  It seems to have potential, but it’s just not pulling me in.  Alright…I just looked at the blurb again, and it could just be the first story isn’t for me; the others look promising.  I’m keeping it on my TBR list and relegating it to the “library” shelf.
  4. Lavender by Sophie Welsh: Kept (RWTR) – This almost ended up on the passed pile, because the underlying premise of it is such patriarchal bullshit that it really pisses me off.  The titular character is a free-spirited 13 year old girl who just wants to explore the forest near her house, but both her and her mother are under her blacksmith father’s thumb.  The worst part is that he really isn’t presented in a “bad” light even though he won’t let her eat until she agrees to marry the village elder’s son.  He makes her feel bad for not knowing how to cook, clean, or want to marry, and while I get that it’s “that time,” I’m too old, grumpy, and feminist to not have that piss me off.  What saved it was the village elder’s son Eldrin, ironically enough.  He seems just as reluctant to marry Lavender as she does him, and while he does kind of follow her around like a lost puppy, he doesn’t seem forceful or aggressive, so I’m curious where this story is going to go.
  5. The Shock of Night by Patrick W. Carr: Kept – The first chapter kills off the people introduced in the prologue, and the main character seems to be a medieval detective of sorts trying to piece the crime together.  It’s interesting enough to keep on my list.
  6. The Battle for Oz by Jeyna Grace: Kept (Purchased) – I honestly didn’t have high hopes for this one.  Rewrites of classic stories tend to go for the edgy, snarky, and/or modern viewpoint, and that’s just not my cup of tea (it’s one of the reasons I passed on that other novel that took place in the Emerald City), but this started out showing someone I believe is/was the Red Queen being ousted from Wonderland.  She retains her retinue of guards (and her bitterness) and discovers a way to get to Oz.  From the sample and the blurb, I believe this story has Dorothy and Alice working together to banish her once and for all, and I’m curious what their personalities are going to be like in this iteration and how they might collaborate/clash.  I wound up purchasing it, because it was super cheap (as you’ll see below).
  7. The Stolen Child by Peter Brunton: Kept – The first chapter didn’t show any hint of fantasy until the very end, and it was very realistic about what would’ve happened to 14 year old, homeless Rachael if any authority became involved.  I want to know what she either ran away or is keeping away from.  The second chapter has no seeming connection to the first (save for that fore mentioned bit of fantasy), and I want to see the bridge.  Is she the titular stolen child?
  8. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by Newt Scamander (J. K. Rowling): Kept – Even though there was barely any sample, of course I kept this book in the extended Harry Potter universe.  I’d still like to see the movie, too.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Series Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Date Added: December 30, 2015
Date Purchased: April 14, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $10.79
Retailer: Barnes and Noble

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The State of the Reader: 4/12/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/5/17          The State of the Reader: 4/19/17–>

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: 12

  1. Order of Seven by Beth Teliho: Kept – I was kind of hoping the twin main characters would be similar in skin tone to the African tribe they’d been found with, but I can’t deny I’m curious about the mystery behind that.  I’d initially had this book on my really-want-to-read list, but finishing the sample bumped it down a bit.  Not that I’m not still interesting, but there are other books that seem more intriguing (I know…you’d think a book about the order of “seven” would be number one on the pile, but it doesn’t always work like that).
  2. Binti by Nnedi Okorafor: Kept (RWTR) – This is another book with a focus on the African continent, and I’m more interesting in it than the one above.  The main/titular character is the first of the Himba people to ever be offered a place at the most prestigious galactic university, and she leaves home secretly against the wishes of her family.  The sample did an excellent job of showing how Binti was a stranger in a strange land even on the transport to space.  I felt for her for so many reasons.
  3. The Dragon Tempest: Tales of Fantasy and Adventure by Dragon Knight Chronicles: Passed – It didn’t grab me, and there were too many cliched tropes without any subversions to shake them up.  The language was also really simplistic, which can be brilliant in the hands of a seasoned writer, but seems juvenile to the unadept.
  4. A Father’s Protection by by K. J. Hawkins: Kept (Purchased) – I really, really hate when the sample isn’t long enough to get past any forewords, acknowledgments et al.  There were only three pages in this sample, which mean I didn’t even get to read a word of the story.  Then I realized it was only $0.99, so I bought it.  Even if I hate it, it’s only $0.99.  Not that I think it’s going to be the greatest story I’ve ever read, but I’d hate to miss something I might enjoy.
  5. Clairvoyance Chronicles – Volume One: Natacha Guyot: Passed – Same issue as two above.  The writing is very simplistic without the promise of something much deeper lying beneath.  It seems almost like it’s mid-grade or YA, but since I just reviewed one of those (The Quantum Door) where the writing style was geared towards that age group, but still accessible to the older crowd, I’m a bit less inclined to just accept that as a reason.  It’s also possible that English is not the writer’s first language, which a quick click on her name proved true.  She’s French, and I’m wondering if the book was originally written in that language then translated into English, which is why it loses its finesse.
  6. Serafina and the Twisted Staff by Robert Beatty: Kept (RWTR) – I knew this was going to fall on the kept/really-want-to-read list, but I still wanted to test the sample out anyway.  It seems just as good as the first book, which I reviewed here.
  7. Sorrow’s Heart by G. S. Scott: Kept (RWTR) – I just marked this as a really-want-to-read.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how fucked up it is.  Children kept naked in cages by a cruel master who does experiments on them so heinous, many end up dead.  The first sample chapter ends with the main character’s brother one of the bodies on the pile.  I have to find out what happens.
  8. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison: Kept (RWTR) – The language in this is lush and poetic like all of Ms, Morrison’s work.  It pulls you in with magical magnetism and sumptuous metaphor just begging to be unraveled.
  9. Through the Portal by Riley J. Dennis: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – Riley is one of my favorite YouTubers, and when I found out she’d written a book, I immediately added it to my Goodreads list.  I was even happier to find out it was fantasy, which is my favorite genre.  Within just the first few pages, Ms. Dennis makes you feel sympathy for the characters, and you want to know more about their lives which seem to only contain each other for comfort.
  10. The Grimm Chronicles by Isabella Fontaine: Passed – I didn’t like the voice.  The author used too many emphases aka italics, which is making me wary of how often I use them, and colloquialisms.
  11. A Pale View of the Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro: Kept (RWTR) – In contrast to the book above, I absolutely loved the voice in this.  It spreads out before you with so much mystery between the words.  The author reveals not only plot coupons but promised revelations to come.
  12. Elijah Dart: Angel of Death by Jonathan L. Ferrara: Kept (RWTR/Purchased) – JLF’s charming writing style again does not disappoint with this story.  Elijah is immediately endearing (and immediately in peril).  There’s even a reference to Rupert Davies (the main character from The Ghost of Buxton Manor)!
  • Kept – 9
    • RTWR – 7
  • Passed – 3

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The State of the Reader: 4/5/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/29/17          The State of the Reader: 4/12/17–>

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: 7

  1. The Vagrant by Peter Newman: Kept (RWTR) – All of the yes to this story.  I’m more than likely going to pick it up this week.  I love the gritty minimalism of it, and the fact that the titular character has neither a name nor says nary a word (or at least hasn’t yet).  The world is so decaying and decrepit with so much more to it being revealed in drips and drops (without the info dump that so many people hate, but I don’t mind).  You can tell the Vagrant is a total bad ass even though he hasn’t really done anything yet, and I can’t wait to see what happens when he does.
  2. The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon: Kept (RWTR) – I just realized that this and the above book could be considered urban fantasy, so I don’t hate the (sub) genre after all 🙂  This story takes place in a dystopian version of London where clairvoyants are considered treasonous just by nature of their existence, and the main character is (arguably) the city’s strongest one of them all.  She’s used by her boss to spy on people (which really puts me in the mind of Stranger Things), but (according to the blurb so no spoilers), she’s kidnapped one rainy day by a member of a powerful, otherworldly race with unknown motives.  I just realized that I’m extremely interested in this, and it’s not only urban fantasy but also young adult, since the main character is 19.
  3. Where They Found Her by Kimberly McCreight: Passed – It didn’t grab me.  I thought it was going to have a similar mien to Silent Child, but it read more like a typical mystery with a reporter main character.  It just really isn’t my genre.
  4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon: Kept – There really wasn’t any doubt that I was going to keep this, but I wanted to read a sample anyway to see if it would go on the really-want-to-read list.  It didn’t catch me that hard, but I didn’t get to the part where Claire walked into the past yet.  I’m still on the setup.
  5. Going Bovine by Libba Bray: Kept (RWTR) – Okay, so this book was hilarious from the start, and once again shows that I will like anything in any genre so long as it’s well written. It’s YA, first person, the latter which I’m not opposed to.  It’s just the matter of liking the person who’s telling it, and I like Cameron very much.  His very first anecdote is about how he nearly died on the It’s a Small World ride in Disney World, and the premise of the book is that he contracts some disease that I’m assuming turns him slowly into a cow (if the title is any indication).  It seems brilliant and utterly irreverent.
  6. Ranger Martin and the Zombie Apocalypse by Jack Flacco: Passed – I’m just not in the mood for an apocalyptic zombie story.  There’s nothing against the novel.
  7. Uprooted by Naomi Novik: Kept (RWTR) – I almost bought this book today, but stalled because it’s around $12.  Not that I don’t think the author deserves that money, but I’m trying to curb my spending especially on Amazon, which automatically defaults to that credit card.  I’m half debating putting books back on my wish list since I think you’ll receive word of sales on things there.  I have to research it more.  Anyway, everything about this book is amazing.  It’s told like a fairy tale in a very fairy tale way.  Every ten years or so a girl is chosen to live with the elusive magician in his castle/tower, and the main character is certain her beloved best friend is going to be that girl, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about fairy tales, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Books Purchased This Week: 1

Title: Melkorka
Series Title: The Kaelandur Series
Author: Joshua Robertson
Date Added: January 5, 2016
Date Purchased: April 4, 2017

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

Nothing cheaper than something free!  (Bonus points to whomever guesses where that’s from, and you have to tell me who says it).

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