The Mabinogion Tetralogy by Evangeline Walton

Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Authors: Anonymous, Evangeline Walton (translator), Betty Ballantine (Introduction)
Date Added: August 24, 2014
Date Started: July 31, 2016
Date Finished: May 6, 2017
Reading Duration: 281 days
Genre: Mythology/Welsh Mythology/Celtic Mythology/Irish Mythology, Fantasy, Classic

Pages: 720
Publication Date: April 1, 1980
Publisher: The Overlook Press
Media: Paperback

Shares Paradigms With: The Chronicles of Prydain, The Raven Cycle

The retelling of the epic Welsh myth that is “certainly among the top 5 fantasy series of the twentieth century” (sfsite.com).

The Mabinogion is to Welsh mythology what the tales of Zeus, Hera, and Apollo are to Greek myth. these tales constitute a powerful work of the imagination, ranking with Tokien’s Lord of the Rings novels and T.H. White’s The Once and Future King. Evangeline Walton’s compelling rendition of these classic, thrilling stories of magic, betrayal, lost love, and bitter retribution include the encounter between Prince Pwyll and Arawn, the God of Death, which Pwyll survives by agreeing to kill the one man that Death cannot fell, and the tale of bran the blessed and his family’s epic struggle for the throne.

The Mabinogion is internationally recognized as the world’s finest arc of Celtic mythology; Walton’s vivid retelling introduces an ancient world of gods and monsters, heroes, kings and quests, making accessible one of the greatest fantasy sagas of all time.


******Warning: Some mentions of rape as it pertains to the narrative.******

I first cut my teeth on Welsh Mythology with The Prydain Chronicles of Lloyd Alexander, books written for children, and rife with the myths of that land.  It was where I first saw the name “Gwydion” and heard the term “Son of Don” and “Math Son of Mathonwy.”  At the time I though Don and Mathonwy were the names of their fathers since lineage now and still flows through the father, but at that point in the history of Wales, the name of the mother was the line of kings.

Prydain did an excellent job of introducing the rich mythological history of Wales, and Mr. Alexander (who is actually from around my area) cited the Mabinogion as one of his sources, but as it was a children’s book, The Chronicles barely scratched the surface of the myths’ depths.  Though I read the series years ago (and haven’t had a chance to reread it again), I remembered the name of the source, and when the opportunity presented, obtained a copy of the volume in question.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 5/10/17

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

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. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor: Kept (RWTR) – I’ve had this one on my really want to read list for a while, and the sample only increased my desire for this book.  The language is beautiful, and the sample presented questions I’m dying to know the answers to.  It has both a steam of consciousness and magical realism current to it.  If it wasn’t $9.99 and I didn’t have a ton of books sitting in a pile right in front of me, I’d have bought it this week.
  2. Foundation by Isaac Asimov: Kept (Purchased) – In my drive to read more sci-fi, I of course had to download a sample of one of the founding fathers of the genre.  I was struck by how well paced this book was.  Many of the old school authors don’t have that trait to their credit as it wasn’t deemed as necessary in that era.  Tolkien, who could be considered Asimov’s equivalent in fantasy, certainly took his sweet time in his epics, so much so that many current day readers can’t stomach it.  I had issues with The Hobbit, but fared better with Lord of the Rings.  Afterwards, having a feel for his style, I went back and read the prequel novella.  I had no problem being swept away in Asimov’s world, and since the book was quite inexpensive on Kindle, I decided to make the purchase.
  3. Outcast by Adrienne Kress: Kept – I was skeptical about this one.  I’m very picky when it comes to stories about angels, and I tend not to like stories that are over-stylized and overly modern, attempting to make everything cool and snarky; however, the voice in this is perfect for what’s occurring.  A small, seemingly southern (American) town is literally being plagued by angels.  They come once a year and take people away.  They don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but the first chapter ends with the MC, who’s telling the story, admitting she shot one in the face.  Whether this is the reason she’s dubbed “outcast” is anyone’s guess. It may refer to the angel she shot, or it could very well be a double entendre.  Also the author’s name is “Adrienne.”  I have to give her a chance 😉
  4. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow: Kept (Purchased/RWTR) – Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit, this book is amazing, intense, and there was no way in hell I wasn’t going to buy it based on how inexpensive it was.  I know about how royal hostages work fairly well from ASOIAF, but this book drives it home.  The narrator lives in an abbey of sorts with her fellow royals.  They are referred to as the Children of Peace, and if their parents break this peace by declaring war, the lives of their respective children are forfeit.  The logic being no one would declare war at the expense of their child but the first chapter shows these things still happen, because when your people don’t have water, and your neighbors aren’t willing to offer aid, you may need to go to war.
  5. The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H. P. Lovecraft: Kept (Purchased/RWTR) – HPL loved the Names to Run Away From trope in regards to those that end in -th.  Yog Shoggoth, Kadath, Azathoth are just a few of the monikers so used.  This story immediately captured my attention with the main characters vision of the dream city at sunset, because I often have such visions just not typically three nights in a row.  Since this is Lovecraft, the novel will only end in horror, but I want to see how it gets there, and as I want to write horror myself, this will be a good lesson in how it might unfold.
  6. Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell: Kept (RWTR) – The blurb wasn’t lying about this being a page turner.  It’s not even my preferred genre and I’m still itching to know why the suspect the main character was interviewing all of a sudden changed his entire personality from saying only “Fuck off” and other profanities to speaking in full, eloquent sentences.
  7. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: Kept (RWTR) – There’s not much to say about this other than I loved it.  The language, the set up, the mien, the voice.  Everything speaks to a gorgeous, gripping tale.
  8. Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey: Kept – This is the first book in an old series, but I never read it in high school, though I’ve known about it since then.  Reading the blurb and sample, I’m wondering if GRRM was inspired by some of the motifs or vice versa.  There’s a “Plague Star” paradigm with the planet that comes around in cycles causing woe to the world at hand, and dragon riders are obviously another thing they share.  It was first published in 1968, and I believe this was around the time Martin was getting his start so it’s entirely possible he was inspired by Ms. McCaffrey.
  9. Geish of Gion by Mineko Iwasaki: Kept (RWTR) – I read Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden many years ago, never knowing he had essentially stolen the story from her.  Geisha of Gion is written in the teller’s own words, but it is far less popular.  Hopefully, I can help change that.
  10. The Forest House by Marion Zimmer Bradley: Kept – I have a contentious relationship with Bradley.  I read and loved The Mists of Avalon, which is currently on my to-reread list (which I want to do before I read this), but I heard some incredibly disturbing news about something she did.  I’m not going to talk about it here, but it makes me want to never spend money on one of her books ever again, though I already own Mists and would like to eventually have the entire series.  Hm, upon googling, it looks like Bradley died in 1999, so she wouldn’t receive any payment for any books I buy.  This is still a major dilemma.  If you’re curious, I’ll link the article here.  It’s in a similar vein to what I should do about Lovecraft, though with Bradley, it concerns one person.
  11. The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy: Kept (RTWR) – I wasn’t sure what I expected when I read this sample.  I remember bits and pieces of the movie, but I was quite young at the time it came out, and what I do remember, I was too young to fully understand.  The sample is clearly setting the stage for horrific events that leave the narrator broken and his sister psychotic and suicidal.  I could not stop reading it.  It may have to be my next library book, if I don’t pick it up from the bookstore before then.
  12. Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper: Kept – I always looked at this book series while growing up, but I never read it.  The title of it always entranced me: The Dark Is Rising.  So much so that I used the phrase in my original novel followed by “and the light must prevail.”  I think I was also planning on making it the name of a bookstore in a story that I haven’t gotten around to writing yet.
  13. The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell: Kept (RWTR) – I was honestly shocked at how much I liked this.  When I realized it was time to read this sample, I truly believed it was going to end up in the passed pile since it’s based on the tales of Arthur, and I already have my (problematic) favorite tale of the same.  However, the language and style immediately struck me, and the opening scenes of childbirth were brutal and realistic, as was the clash of the old religion of the druids against newer Christianity.  I’ll have to thank my coworker/supervisor for giving me this recommendation!

Passed: 0
Kept: 13


Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: Foundation
Series Title: Foundation
Author: Isaac Asimov
Date Added: April 16, 2016
Date Purchased: May 5, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Added: April 18, 2016
Date Purchased: May 6, 2017

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

Title: The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
Author: H. P. Lovecraft
Date Added: May 25, 2016
Date Purchased: May 5, 2017

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

Total: $5.97
Average Price: $1.99


Books Finished This Week: 1

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

Finally…after nearly a year, I’ve finished this book.  Granted the reason it took so long was because I didn’t have a reading system down back then and now I do, but I’m pretty sure this is the longest it’s ever taken me to read a book.  Harry Potter 5 and 6 are near as long, and I finished those in less than two days.  A Clash  of Kings could potentially be longer, and I probably read that in a week.  The Mab read more like a novel then any mythology collection I ever had where each “branch” told a particular story.  I’m happy I read it though.  I greatly enjoyed The Chronicles of Prydain and wanted to have more background on that.  While this was quite a bit different and more elaborate, I could see where some of that story originated.

I’ll be working on a review for this this week.


Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: The Poetic Edda: Stories of the Norse Gods and Heroes
Author: Anonymous
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: May 8, 2017

This book is  prerequisite reading for a ton of my essays (as in I need to read it before I write them), and of course I had to get the one with the northern lights on the cover.  My two favorite stories heavily borrow/reference Norse mythology: Final Fantasy VII and A Song of Ice and Fire, and my second favorite villain, Loki as played by Tom Hiddleston, is from there as well.  The mythos of the Norsemen is arguably my favorite since they have their own version of the Tree of Life or World Tree, Yggdrasil.  The Song reference for it has to do with the bone white weirwoods and specifically the so-called demon tree Ygg, and Martin also has a subversion of one-eyed Odin with Blood Raven the sorcerer.  FFVII has the Tree of Life reference in Sephiroth, a major component of the .Qabalistic Tree of Life.  Once I read this, I’ll have the background knowledge to start working on quite a few of my VII/Song comparative essays.  It’s like I’m back in school again!

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury
Series Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Date Added: January 26, 2017
Date Started: May 1, 2017

Media: Hardback (Library)
Progress: 22%

I am almost 100% certain the author is making Tamlin an asshole so that we’re not supposed to like him anymore.  I didn’t like him from the first book to begin with, but my guess is she’s attempting to sway readers who more than likely did to realize what he’s doing to Feyre.  These readers probably weren’t all that fond of Rhysand, though truthfully I had major problems with both of them.  Currently, though, at least Rhys is telling Feyre what’s going on, not keeping her in the dark, and not forcing her to stay in their house all the time.  I really hope the main character dumps the High Lord of the Spring Court not because I particularly want her to be with Rhys, but because Tamlin’s a jackass…which I totally called from the first book :p

Title: The Quantum Ghost
Author: Jonathan Ballagh
Date Added: April 14, 2017
Date Started: April 29, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 48%

All of the (mostly minor) issues I had with The Quantum Door are utterly nonexistent in this second novel.  To be honest, I’m picturing this as a movie, and I hope one day it gets to that point.  Door would make an excellent movie, too.  The action, while not overwhelming, is almost nonstop.

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Others, and Translators
Date Added: October 30, 2016
Date Started: April 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress:  45%

I think after I finish reading this, I’m going to watch all of the Zeldas….in order.  Oh!  I have to remember to look for the Zelda comics Mr. Panda told me about!  I had no idea these existed, and they have one for Twilight Princess o.O  I’ll be hitting the bookstore this Friday!

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Started: April 8, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 61%

It’s amazing how a story can be so cohesive even as it almost seems to consist of vignettes.  You never know what you’re going to get with each chapter, and you never know which character is going to be the focus.  The author even puts the spotlight on seemingly minor characters.  As mentioned before it reminds me a bit of ASOIAF, because we’re presented with one character’s viewpoint and one character’s thoughts.  I have absolutely no idea how this is going to end, but I have been thinking about what it would look like if they did make a TV series of it.

Title: Riddled With Senses
Author: Petra Jacob
Date Added: January 28, 2017
Date Started: March 19, 2017

Media: Paperback
Progress: 88%

I an also honestly say I have no idea how this is going to wrap up.  Initially, I thought it would be a glorious, drug induced, stream of consciousness ride, and while those have been the tools used, Riddled is so much more than that.  It’s about both not conforming and yet questioning whether that state is just another type of conformity.  Wanting more, but not wanting to fall into the malaise of the gaping bystanders and gawking crowds.  This books asks questions I’ve always had, but never knew how to frame.


Fanfictions Finished: 1

Title: Breath Fades with the Light
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

Life gets in the way of everything, so my fellow fanfiction writer friend hasn’t had a chance to update the below (there may even be some writer’s block involved), but she is writing again, little snippets involving the same couple.  I can’t say I’m not appreciative.

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 2

Title: I’m the Darkness, You’re the Starlight
Author: runicmagitek
Fandom: FFVI
Pairing: Celes Chere/Setzer Gabbiani

No update for this this week.

Title: I Will Call You Home: A Recounting of the Fifth Blight
Author: AthenaTseta
Fandom: Dragon Age
Pairing: Leilana/Various

I have this on my schedule to read twice a week, but I seem to only be able to manage once 😦  It’s weird because Monday I don’t have anything to post, yet I still never seen to have time.  I think it’s because I check my email on Monday, and I have a bunch of blog subs to get through.  Anyway, Morrigan has joined Alistair and Renya at the “request” of Flemeth, her mother.


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 6

Title: Uglies
Series Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfield
Date Added: May 4, 2017
Recommended by: Athena | AmbiGaming

In a discussion with Athena one on of my posts (don’t ask me to remember which one), we were talking about YA novels, and she mentioned she’d read a bunch at once so was a bit burned out on the genre.  I recommended she not read the final book in the Divergent series, and she recommended I give this one a try.  I’d seen it before, but didn’t add it at that time.  After I did, because my Goodreads is tied to my Facebook, one of my IRL friends saw it and offered to lend me the trilogy.  I might take her up on that.

Title: Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain
Author: David Eagleman
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Recommended by: Cool Stuff with Chris

Nothing will make me add a reference book faster than telling me it’s about the brain.  My undergraduate was in psychology, and physiological psych was my favorite class.  I loved learning how the areas of the brain connected to certain functions and behaviors.  It’s been quite a few years since I graduated, and I could certainly use a refresher.

Title: Red Harvest
Series Title: Star Wars Legends
Author: Joe Schreiber
Date Added: May 7, 2017
Recommended by: Cool Stuff with Chris

Even though Disney declared any novels “legends” (so no longer canon), I’ve never been one to shy away from what would now be considered fanfiction.  Plus, my recommender said that this has some serious horror motifs, and after reading the blurb, I can confirm this appears to be true.

Title: Out of the Silent Planet
Series Title: Space Trilogy
Author: C. S. Lewis
Date Added: May 8, 2017
Recommended by: The Well-Red Mage

The title to this sounds so familiar that I’m surprised I didn’t know it was by C. S. Lewis.  I’m not that shocked he wrote science fiction since that genre and fantasy are on a continuum.  Anyway, this came well RED-commended (I’m exhausted, and I still found place to pun), and since I’m trying to read more sci-fi, I think one of the most celebrated fantasy authors and theologians is a good place to land.

Title: The 5th Wave
Series Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Date Added: May 9, 2017

The addition of this came about due to a Facebook post I made concerning aliens.  I said something along the lines of how when I was growing up, I had no interest in aliens (in fact, the thought of extraterrestrial beings scared the hell out of me), but now all of my favorite characters are aliens at least in some part.  One of my high school friends who’s also a writer suggested this book to me, but warned that it follows a sadly typical pattern with YA where the first book will be good/decent, then the second one slacks off, and the third isn’t worth your time.  I figure I’ll give the first a sample run and see what I think.  I’d looked at this book/series before, but it didn’t spark my interest then.

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time – Part 1
Series: Zelda
Author: Akira Himekawa
Date Added: May 10, 2017
Recommended by: Mr. Panda

It’s a Zelda comic (that I mentioned above with Hyrule Historia).  Need I say more?  Apparently, Link speaks in it, too!  It’s pretty highly rated on Goodreads, and Mr. P. says he saw a bunch in a bookstore, so the monthly trip is happening this Friday.

Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 463
Change from Last Week: +3


Books Added to Reread List This Week: 0


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

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The State of the Writer: 5/7/17

<–The State of the Writer: 4/30/17          The State of the Writer: 5/14/17–>

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.

*****Warning:  Discussions of rape as it pertains to The Broken Rose.*****

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 268,653
Prior Word Count: 268,665
Word Difference: -12
Status: Editing
Progress: Posting Chapter 9

Posting a chapter is a days’ long project.  I’ve done so here, on AO3, and Deviant Art.  Only tumblr is left.  Even though I don’t use tumblr as often as I used to, I still like to keep up with my posting there, since it’s a decent repository for fanfiction. Just in case you’re curious.  This is how long it took me to edit each chapter so far:

Chapter 1 – 5 days
Chapter 2 – 33 days
Chapter 3 – 31 days
Chapter 4 – 2 days
Chapter 5 – 10 days
Chapter 6 – 53 days
Chapter 7 – 43 days
Chapter 8 – 42 days
Chapter 9 – 43 days

Total Editing Days – 262 days
Average Num. Days per Ch. – 29

Why am I like this?  I’ll try to remember to put the editing duration for each chapter.  I don’t know why I’m such a numbers junkie, but I just love facts, figures and excel spreadsheets.  It’s also boggling my mind that I’ve spent nearly a year in editing o.O

Chapter 10 is going to be another long edit like Chapter 8.  There’s a lot of chaff to weed through, and I’ll probably end up cutting out quite a lot.  If I’m lucky, I’ll get to start that tonight or at the very least prep it.

I received a very nice email through my WP contact feature from someone who was only mildly familiar with the name Final Fantasy.  She liked the fact that I threw in bits and pieces of the back story, since she was then able to understand more of what was going on.  She also had a critique I 100% agree with and thought of previously, but was either too lazy or too forgetful to remedy.

Aeris wouldn’t call what happened to her “rape,” because rape denotes a violation and a crime.  While she obviously hated what she was subjected to, it occurred for so long that she would lose all sense that it was a violation.  It would just become part of her horrible, torturous life, and what constitutes a crime is utterly contingent upon the society in which the crime occurs.  Since the “society” she was forced into saw her as property, what they did to her wasn’t criminal (to them) even though it was obviously wrong.  Absolute right and absolute wrong aren’t contingent upon any societal mores, and hurting anyone in such a way is a clear violation of human rights.

That term “rights,” (which I attempted to define in Chapter 9) is often misunderstood.  People often think that rights are granted by ruling bodies, but this is erroneous.  Rights are protected by ruling bodies, and how they’re given is much more philosophical and up for debate.  Most people agree that all living beings have the right to not be tortured or abused, and all people should have equal rights; however disagreement springs up at the extent of rights people should have.  I have some pretty strong opinions about this, but I don’t want to get too political, so I’ll leave it at that.  The main point is I had Aeris using the term “rape” when she wouldn’t see it in that connotation.  The better term would probably be “use.”  That both better encompasses how she would comprehend it in addition to paralleling with both her and Sephiroth’s past.  I’ll have to go back at some point and edit again, and I do need to repost some chapters, as I’ve done some work on them since initially posting.

Quote: “I’m a monster, Aeris.  You didn’t see them.  You didn’t see their faces.”  *They forget what I am.  They forgot what I did, but I’ll always remember…*


Project: Game Review
Title: World of Final Fantasy
Status: Editing
Current Word Count: 5154
Prior Word Count: 4405
Word Difference: +749

world-of-final-fantasy

I think I’m all but done with this review save for the edit.  I am debating whether I should add something in, something very interesting I found when I was looking up Shelke’s origins.

She’s originally from Final Fantasy VII: Dirge of Cerberus, and like everyone else in the FFVII universe, she has a horrifying back story.  I’ve heard a lot of bad things about Dirge, but the more I read about it, the more involved, in depth, and heartbreaking the story sounds.  The Shinra messed up so many people, and it puts a bit of a pall on the fact that everyone considers them “good” in Advent.  I agree that they’re no longer involved in human experimentation or doing things to harm the planet, but that’s really only because Sephiroth killed the president, the world was nearly destroyed by meteor, and geostigma occurred, so that served as their wake up call.  It’s also possible that Avalanche succeeded in at least informing enough of the population about what they were doing, which would be a PR nightmare, and the demand for a better energy source forced them to examine and alter their methods (I don’t have much faith in large corporations to just up and change their profitable platforms on a whim, call me skeptical if you wish).  Anyway, what happened to Shelke was not only monstrous, but what she gained from it reminds me of something else.  I’m debating whether or not I want to discuss that in the WOFF review or save it for when I (eventually, you know in twenty years) watch and review Dirge.  We’ll see how I feel during the edit.


Project: Book Review
Title: The Mabinogion Tetralogy
Author: Evangeline Walton
Status: Planning

After nearly a year, I finally finished this compendium of Welsh myths.  I’ll be working on the review this week and probably at least setting it up tonight.


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: 4/30/17          The State of the Writer: 5/14/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 5/3/17

<–The State of the Reader: 4/26/17          The State of the Reader: 5/10/17–>

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: 11

  1. The Whispers of the Fallen by J. D. Netto: Kept – It’s a book about fallen angels and the first chapter had the image of one wing on it.  Hells yes, I’m going to keep this.  I didn’t put it on my really-want-to-read list only because the writing is a little “below” the type I like, but I’m very curious about what happens.
  2. The Reviled by Cynthia A. Morgan: Passed – Sometimes in reading samples and stories of other authors, you learn what not to do with your own.  This book has a prologue that not only introduces the concepts around the book, but also talks about what the narrative is supposed to be a metaphor for.  Now if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a good metaphor, and I also love if/when a writer/creator confirms if one is true, but it’s lessened if the author tells you what it is beforehand.  Give your readers some credit and let them figure it out for themselves.  I will always favor Death of the Author over Word of God, considering authors may not even realize the concepts they’re paralleling in their work.  Also notwithstanding, the writing wasn’t the kind I favor either.
  3. The Silver Bough by Lisa Tuttle: Kept (RWTR) – I’m not surprised I kept this one nor am I shocked it found its way (or remained) on my really-want-to-read list.  Ms. Tuttle is the co-author of Windhaven, which she wrote with George R. R. Martin, and though I did have some trouble getting into the story, that was more due to pacing and not the writing style.  The pacing issue was more than likely due to the novel being made up of short stories and novellas pieced together.  This sample was instantly engaging, speaking of which, there’s a mysteriously broken one the MC is going to investigate.  Additionally, she’s just recently lost her best friend to a car accident.  The author wouldn’t bring something like that up if it wasn’t going to factor in later.
  4. Krim Du Shaw by Talia Haven: Kept (Purchased) – Since this is a short story, the sample paralleled that length and was only one page long.  It’s about horses, and the book is only $0.99, so I figured why not?
  5. Night Pleasures by Sherrilyn Kenyon: Passed – Ugh.  I’m kind of annoyed I didn’t like this book, because I’ve seen Sherrilyn Kenyon in the fantasy section for years, and her novels look so interesting, but the sample instantly turned me off in both the prologue and first chapter.  The main female character wakes up handcuffed to a strange man.  Okay.  I’m fine with this so far.  They’ve both been abducted.  How are they going to get out of this situation?  She realizes he’s still alive and shakes him until he comes to.  He immediately flips her over on her back and presses himself against her.  Um, what?  Then she gets turned on by this?  Um what the fuck?  You’ve been kidnapped, handcuffed to some strange guy, and now he’s in the ravishing position over you, and this is cool?  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t judge your kink.  If that’s your fantasy, please go right ahead, but the thing about fantasies is you’re generally in control of the situation.  It just seemed unrealistic and more in line with those romance novels of old where shit like that always happened, and the woman was perfectly okay with it.  Then the next chapter did nothing but talk about how great this guy was.  He was apparently a god or he had godlike abilities *rolls eyes*  Again, one of the lessons I try to learn from books I either don’t like or have major issues with is what not to do with my own characters.
  6. Pretty Things by Christine Haggerty: Kept – Retold fairy tales are my bread and butter especially since I’ve written a retold fairy tale, and I use them for inspiration in all of my works.  This didn’t find its way onto my RWTR list because I’m trying to cut down on that.  Actually…I think I’m going to attempt to whittle it down to 100 books if not less.  If I haven’t read a sample of a book yet, I’m definitely removing it from there.
  7. Astarte Rising by Greg Thomas: Kept – I really don’t recall too much about this sample, but I didn’t hate it; it has a fairly high Goodreads rating, so I figure I might as well keep it.
  8. Darker Than You Think by Jack Williamson: Kept – I’m fairly certain the female reporter is a vampire or a werewolf.  Since she’s out during the day (at least I think she is), I’m leaning towards werewolf, though why she’s carrying around a kitten is anyone’s guess.
  9. The Night Manager by John le Carré; Kept – I’m really glad I liked this book.  It was introduced to me through the BBC series staring Tom Hiddleston, my favorite actor ♥♥♥  So reading it, I envision Tom as Jonathan Pine, which is the part he played.  I never finished the BBC series, but I’m hoping to before I get to the book.
  10. Purity by Jonathan Franzen: Kept – The writing in this is so compelling, and the mysteries/plot coupons the author presents are almost too delicious to bear.
  11. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson: Kept – So far I like the prologues (there have been two so far, one to the series as a whole, one for the novel at hand), but that’s how I felt about Mistborn, too.  I feel like this novel is more showing, less telling though, and his writing seems more on point.  I believe Mistborn was his first series, so it would make sense that Stormlight would have a more refined tone.

Passed: 2
Kept: 9

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

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

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 1/11/17

<–The State of the Reader: 1/4/17          The State of the Reader: 1/18/17–>

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: 5

Title: Tuf Voyaging
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: January 27, 2016
Date Started: January 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 29%

Somewhere in my madness, I decided to pick up a fifth book to read.  What happened in actuality is not atypical for how I fall into things.  I don’t even think I was on a site for such, but the written transcript of the FFVII Remake showed up somewhere in my periphery, and while I don’t know it verbatim, I do recall it constitutes something about looking up at a fated star (I’m probably really off in this, and I don’t feel like looking it up (…), because it lends the chance of falling down VII’s many rabbit holes), but there was something about an ominous star, and that reminded me of a story by GRRM called “The Plague Star.”  Internet perusing led me to Tuf Voyaging, a novel I’ve been wanting to read ever since I got a “Taste of Tuf” from Dreamsongs Volume II.  “The Plague Star” suggests some serious implications for ASOIAF insofar as the comet presented in the latter tale may be more than just astral debris as the original meteor in FFVII was.  So while I had every intention of reading more about Haviland Tuf, I was spurred along by that chance noticing of those particular words.

When I bought the Kindle copy and opened it up on a whim, it automatically updated my Goodreads to say I was currently reading it.  I’d set that up and forgotten about it, but since I was well drawn into the the fore mentioned story, I figured what the hell.  I’m currently reading quite a bit of this along with The Raven Boys during my lunch breaks at work, and as you can see I’ve made significant progress in just one week.  I finished “The Plague Star” and am currently on “Loaves and Fishes.”  I’ve noticed that most if not all of Tuf’s tales have some sort of Biblical reference, and in “Plague,” he is the only really likable character.  He’s a consummate cat lover so I’m already endeared.

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: 70%

I am now entirely convinced that this is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, which is a nice bait and switch, as I was expecting a retelling of Tamlin owing to the High Lord’s name.  I’m coming down to the final climax of the novel, and something has been revealed that pushes this paradigm even further to the forefront.

I already have an idea what rating I’m going to give this book.  Is that something that normally happens to you?  You realize where a novel is going to fall even before you finish reading it?  Usually about halfway through I’m fairly set on a rating, though factors could still definitely change it.  This book would have to do something pretty miraculous to achieve higher than what I’m set on.

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: 17%

Absolute time used to be a believed concept, which is fascinating.  It’s been rejected and rightly so, but still fascinating to think about.  Prior physicists also believe that the earth and other bodies must be moving through something called the ether, which is what accounted for certain factors, but this was ultimately rejected as well.

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: 35%

What’s amazing about this story is how little has happened and yet how utterly compelling it is.  There’s only the promise of discovery for both readers and characters alike, but that promise as well as the lovely prose are more than enough.  Currently, all of the important people have now met, and I’m actually on the part of their meeting now.  I imagine I’ll be finished this book either next week or soon afterwards.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 49%

I’ve kind of neglected this poor book.  It seems that the nights I skip reading tend to be the nights I’m supposed to read this and/or I only read a page or two.  It’s not that I don’t enjoy it; it’s just that I’m so damn tired all the time.  I’m almost halfway finished…though it’s been nearly six months since I started.  I do think I’ll be finished before the year mark though.


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

Still hoping…

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 2

Title: Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom
Series Title: Death Note
Author: Tsugumi Oba
Date Added: January 7, 2017

I just spent about ten minutes trying to figure out who the hell recently reviewed this.  I read it today, but it had to have been posted between 12/31 and 1/3, because my blog sub backlog is gigantic and only growing.  It was one of my frequently read blogger friends, and your review of it made me add it to my TBR list (I also commented the same).

I’d heard of this manga, but had no clue it was about something so interesting as a book that allows you to kill people by writing down their names.  Of course I’m not thinking of what I would do with such a device!  How dare you accuse?!  And of course I’m not thinking of writing down anyone’s name that begins with the letter D.  What do you take me for?  Good day to you sir/madam! *stomps off in huff*

Anyway…I’m throwing more comic books/graphic novels/manga on my TBR list.  It’s nice padding and quicker reads so I may be able to make if not surpass my 15 book goal.  I feel short of my 20 books of 2016 so lowered it.

Title: Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions
Author: Edwin A. Abbott
Date Added: January 9, 2017

Unless I’m mistaken (and there’s a good chance I am), there was a movie made about this book.  I could also be thinking of the cartoon about the line and the circle, which could very well have been based on/inspired by this as well.  I could also be thinking of another film called The Point that I wanted to see when I was younger, but never was able to catch.

Either way, this is a sci-fi novel about a two-dimensional world where the main character is A. Square, a mathematician, who journeys to other dimensions beyond and less than his own.  It is a near turn of the century satire, published in 1884 (yes, that century, not the most recent one) where women, as thin straight lines, are considered the lowliest shape (not much has changed), and the more sides a man has, the higher his status.  There are some books that stand the test of time.  Even though this one is over a hundred years old, I have a feeling many of the themes will still be valid today.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 541
Change from Last Week: +1


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


Books Purchased This Week: 3

  1. The Bees by Laline Paul – Exactly what it says on the tin.  It’s about bees and written in such a delightfully intriguing way that I knew I had to obtain it after reading the sample
  2. Saga: Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples – Yasss finally!  To hell with that $50 hardback copy I saw at KOP’s comic book story.  I flipped through the first few pages, and it…is…thrilling from the get go.  You are instantly thrown into the story, and it’s no holds barred, not sugar coated.  I love it already.  I’m hoping to shoehorn it into my reading cycle soon.
  3. The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia by Various Authors – I was talking to a major Zelda fan this week who gave his approval on this compendium.  The pictures are gorgeous, and it was worth all 30 of my (GC) dollars.

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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: 1/4/17          The State of the Reader: 1/18/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 11/2/16

<–The State of the Reader: 10/26/16          The State of the Reader: 11/9/16–>

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

Books Currently Reading: 4

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 25%

One percentage at a time I’m conquering this mighty compendium, hopefully better than the Irish tried to quell the Island of the Mighty, which has been a major plot point of late.  I probably would’ve read less had not something huge and horrible happened at the end of one chapter involving Branwen and her son by Matholuch who’s a total jackass (Matholuch, not the son).  I don’t want to give too much a way in case you fine people ever decide to read the Tetrology yourself (which I highly recommend you do).

Title: The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: January 7, 2015
Date Started: February 8, 2015

Media: Hardback
Progress: 82%

I’m still in the (so-called) Free Cities just about to read about Pentos, which probably factors much into the plot of Thrones much more than many think.  It’s the current home of Magister Illyrio Mopatis, a man whose relationship to Varys casts a great deal of suspicion on his rotund form.  There’s a reason Illyrio’s beloved, deceased wife has such an intricate description.  The flames tell me so…

Title: Magonia
Series Title: Magonia
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Date Added: January 31, 2016
Date Started: October 1, 2016

Media: Paperback
Progress: 39%

I’m back to being minorly annoyed by this book again.  I detest when characters ask more than reasonable questions and other characters see fit to assume the asking character should know the answer and then refuse to give it to them because of this assumption.  If they’re not giving the answer for other reasons then that’s fine, but the asking character is perfectly correct to be acting the way they are, and the other characters are almost gaslighting her for her behavior, and it’s both frustrating and annoying.

Title: The Ghost of Buxton Manor
Author: Jonathon L. Ferrara
Date Added: August 16, 2016
Date Started: October 17, 2016

Media: Kindle
Progress: 32%

I had a moment with this book today.  Something happened that was really close to things I’ve been thinking about a lot (wow I’m being super vague I know, and it’s not just due to not wanting to give the plot away), but it’s something that’s not too unexpected given it’s a ghost story.  At least more of Rupert’s past has been revealed.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

In Progress Fanfictions Read: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 0

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 11

Title: Soulless
Series Title: Parasol Protectorate
Author: Gail Carriger
Date Added: October 26, 2016

A lovely review by Ignited Moth prompted this add, plus I can’t resist good alliteration.  Then the premise itself is intriguing.  A soulless spinster is attacked by a vampire, which apparently breaks all rules of etiquette in this world.  Also one of my favorite authors Patrick Rothfuss also added it to his Goodreads list.  There’s wins all around.

Title: Lotus and Thorn
Author: Sara Wilson Etienne
Date Added: October 28, 2016

This is the second book based on the fairy tale Fitcher’s Brides I have on my list, the first being the titular rendition so linked.  This particular offering has a futuristic setting and a burning question of what really happened to old Earth.  It’s also recommended for fans of Tamora Pierce and Sarah Maas.  I’ve read the latter and have the former’s Throne of Glass on my TBR list.

Title: Double Dead
Series Title: Double Dead
Author: Chuck Wendig
Date Added: October 28, 2016

There are books about vampires.  There are books about zombies.  This is a book about both.  I’m utterly shocked that I’ve never seen one of those before.  How have the two types of undead never had a mixer?  It’s obscene.  Prompted by a review by Cupcakes and Machetes I had to add this for curiosity’s sake alone.  It appears to be a sort of gory humor novel in the same, er, vein as Evil Dead/Army of the Dead.  It sounds thoroughly enjoyable.

Title: The Diabolic
Author: S.J. Kincaid
Date Added: October 28, 2016

Who likes story’s about ruthless, powerful, and unstoppable protectors?  No guesses?  This Shameful Narcissist of course.  They’re the subject and co-protagonist of nearly every story I’ve written so I was ecstatic to see something like this being reviewed by fellow blogger and readaholic Kim at By Hook or By Book.  It’s also a standalone novel, which is rare in this day and age.  Not that I don’t love a good series, but there’s something to be said for an author who can say all they need to in one book.

Title: Alex + Ada
Series Title: Alex + Ada 1-5
Authors: Jonathon Luna & Sarah Vaughn
Date Added: October 28, 2016

Another comic is added to my list with this one, which fellow gaming blogger Cheap Boss Attack praised in his weekly weekend gaming post.  It sounds like a more serious version of Chobits, which I enjoyed (the little of it I saw).

Title: Faller
Author: Will McIntosh
Date Added: October 28, 2016

I know stories about mass amnesia or even just main characters with amnesia are cliche, but they’re still so intriguing.  You want to know what happened in their past and why they’re where they are.  This is the reason they endure.  Hell, one of my story ideas involves amnesia, so I’m not immune to the trope.  By Hook or By Book’s review certainly didn’t hinder my interest in this novel.  What do all of the clue’s Faller finds in his pocket mean and does his odd name have more significance than his leap of faith?

Title: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia
Authors: Patrick Thorpe, Various Others, and Translators
Date Added: October 30, 2016

One of the fastest adds ever as I was scrolling through my Goodreads feed.  I’m already reading a fictional reference in The World of Ice and Fire, and I’d be more than happy to accept the quest of reading the history of Hyrule next.

Title: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Series: Harry Potter
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne, & John Tiffany
Date Added: October 30, 2016

I had this on my list then I removed it for a couple of reasons that I’m regretting at deeper thought.  One, I read a major spoiler.  I know who the eponymous cursed child is and why they are so.  Two, I read some scathing reviews that said, amongst other things, that it was little more than a fanfiction of Harry Potter.  It wasn’t the fanfiction part that bothered me (of course), but between the spoilers and the almost universal panning, I thought it might not be worth my time, but then after a conversation at the Halloween party I went to this weekend, I thought better of it.  People might be panning it because it’s essentially a fanfiction of HP due to fanfiction stigma, which is infuriating.  It’s even possible that they don’t realize this is the reason for their bias, and if the story were not based on Harry Potter, it might actual be enjoyable to them. Who knows, but that’s how biases often work.  So I figured I’d add it back so that I could read and judge for myself.  I don’t have that “this is fanfiction” bias (obviously) and should be able to give an impartial judgment.

Title: Firstlife
Series: Everlife
Author: Gena Showalter
Date Added: October 31, 2016

I came across the second book while scrolling through my Goodreads feed.  I won’t say I read a spoiler, rather an obvious eventuality.  This book sounds fascinating.  It’s an excepted truth that this life is merely a dress rehearsal before your second, true life, begins, and there are two realms where you could end up.  These kingdoms are rivals and they both want the main character Ten on their side.  Our heroine has been locked in an asylum for over a year because she refuses to allow her parents to decide where she’ll live after she dies.  There’s also a boy involved because this is a YA, and there’s always a love interest, but besides that, the life/death aspect of the story sounds hella interesting.

Title: Norse Mythology
Author: Neil Gaiman
Date Added: October 31, 2016

I’m shocked I didn’t have this added already.  As most of you know I love Norse Mythology and am very lucky that it is a centerpiece in so many of my fandoms (FFVII and ASOIAF to name two).  I’m also a late fan, but a fan nonetheless of Neil Gaiman.  He uses quit a bit of it in his stories and decided to go back to the source.

Title: Bird Box
Author: Josh Malerman
Date Added: November 2, 2016

“Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.”

When a blurb hooks you, it hooks you.  What is this thing that drives people to violence like Cthulhu drives you to madness?  What’s in the bird box?


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 514
Change from Last Week: -9

I removed a bunch of Charles de Lint Newford books so that I only have one TBR from that series on my list.  When I read that one I’ll add the next.  I’ll probably go through my list at some point again to see if I have any other series I can cut down.


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


Books Purchased This Week: 0


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: 10/26/16          The State of the Reader: 11/9/16–>

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The State of the Reader: 9/21/16

<–The State of the Reader: 9/14/16          The State of the Reader: 9/28/16–.

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

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: Sigil
Author: Aidan J. Reid
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Started: August 23, 2016
Date Finished: September 16, 2016

This is tough.  As you all know I usually review books on Goodreads and Amazon after I finish them. I want to do that with this one, but I had some major issues with it, and this is an indie author who could be really hurt by a bad review.  I know how tough the publishing world is since, well, I’m not even in it due to failure/rejection, and I don’t want to bring anyone else down, BUT I always want to give honest reviews.  If I can figure out a way to do this tactfully, I’ll definitely write one up.

For now I’ll tell you that I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads.  I think it’s a great portrayal of how small towns can hide huge secrets.  The main character is very likeable and admirable, and the book is $0.99 and fast paced.


Books Currently Reading: 4
Change from Last Week: +1

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 16%

I am well entrenched on the second branch of this book.  It’s a little bit more complex what with matrilineal kingship.  The first book was about the New Tribes that were more patriarchal whereas the Old Tribes follow a matriarchal line. There is a character named Bran though, which is something Martin borrowed from in his Song saga so I’m excited.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: May 11, 2016
Date Started: August 24, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 81%

I’m really hoping this book doesn’t let me down with the ending.  I can see the direction it may be leading me into, and I’m hoping the author is clever enough to pull a bait and switch.  So far Mr. Riggs hasn’t let me down.

Title: The World of Ice and Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones
Author: George R R Martin
Date Added: January 7, 2015
Date Started: February 8, 2015

Media: Hardback
Progress: 66%

Though this book is a new addition to this week, I was reading it before.  I took a hiatus, but picked it back up when I (finally) finished my last reference The Mystical Qabalah.  This compendium is the history of Westeros from GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, my favorite (written) fantasy series and my second favorite story of all time.  If you’re a Song fan and you want to know more about the world of Westeros (and Essos and Sothoryos…collectively called Planetos in fan head canons), I highly recommend it.

I’m currently on the section about the Tyrells and before that Old Town, which was a bit chilling as the maester “writing” it mentions that ubiquitous black stone found all over the world.  There’s something very eerie about that black stone not the least of which is its connections with Lovecraftian horror.

TWOIAF only has around 330 pages, but it’s a large book nonetheless.

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

Media: Kindle
Progress: 12%

I’m trying to remember who recommended this book to me, and I’m failing miserably.  It’s not on my “Blogger Recommendations” shelf, but someone I was talking to mentioned this author because they were willing to risk less sales in order to put a content warning on their work.  Dammit…I think it was someone on WP, but this was before I kept track of who recommended what.

Another draw was how the “Tales of Yagath” sound a bit Lovecraftian to me, too.  Yagath reminds me of shoggoth, but that could also just because I’m weird.  They both end with -th.  I really don’t know.  There is a trope about that though under Names to Run Away From (yes “Sephiroth” is there.  I can’t talk about sinister names that end in -th without mentioning my favorite fallen angel), and Lovecraft, er, loved using it.

This story is about a wandering bard looking for to recount what she knows of the Legend of Khalarea to her friend, but there may be even darker truths to reveal.  This is another book written by an indie author.  I’m trying to keep up my reading with one of those on my Kindle as I go along.  So far it’s a little muddled with tons of character and place names, but I’m hoping things will fall into place soon.  It’s not very long so I don’t envision me taking much more than a week to finish.


Fanfictions Finished: 0

In Progress Fanfictions Read: 0

Fanfictions Currently Reading: 0

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 1

Title: Children of Light and Darkness
Author: Chibi Neko
Fandom: Vampire Hunter D
Pairing: N/A

Holy shit.  I’m reading a fanfiction that’s not only not Aeriseph but also not even Final Fantasy VII.  What the hell is going on?  Well first off I added this today after checking my email.  Chibi Neko, the author, had added my Northern Lights to their Favorite Stories list.  Whenever that occurs I always check out the person’s profile to see if they write my fandom and to see what other stories/authors they have as their favorite so I can potentially add more stories to my TBR list.  I didn’t find any fics that way, but I noticed the author has one story to their credit about Vampire Hunter D.

This is D. Yes, he's very beautiful.

This is D. Yes, he’s very beautiful.

I gave the prologue a read, and it’s interesting enough for me to delve into.  Plus pretty goth boys are my specialty whether they have black or silver hair.  There doesn’t seem to be a pairing marked in the story info, but it is designated a drama/romance.

Fanfiction.net doesn’t have a place for content warnings, and the author didn’t put any near the beginning, but if you decide to check the fic out, there’s rape/sexual assault in the prologue (not done by D, ugh, god no).  I’ll never forgot the one story I read by one of my favorite fanfiction authors where she shocked me with it.  It was absolutely harrowing, and I’m not typically triggered by rape/assault, but that particular story bothered me and still does today when I think about it 😦

Anyway, I think I’ll enjoy this.  Though FFVII is my favorite and really the only fanfic I read, there’s no harm branching out.


Books Added to Goodreads To Read List This Week: 8

Title: The Knife of Never Letting Go
Series Title: Chaos Walking
Author: Patrick Ness
Date Added: September 16, 2016

I have to thank the lovely Writing Hufflepuff for this addition, and for giving me another tag post to do (one day lol).  This series was ranked as the most amazing book that defies all other descriptions.  Of course I had to check it out, and the blurb instantly hooked me.  Silence in a world of endless thoughts, and a heart-stopping revelation.  I must know more.

Title: Crane
Series Title: The Legends Saga
Author: Stacey Rourke
Date Added: September 16, 2016

A terse and explosive review from Cupcake and Machetes made me add this one with the added bonus that the book is free on Kindle.  I love reworked fairy tales and folk legends, and this is an add just in time for Halloween.  Not that I’m going to even start it by then (it’s highly doubtful), but I can always load up my TBR list with spooky scribblings for scary soirees.

Title: A Tale of Two Airships
Series Title: Take to the Skies
Author: Katherine McIntyre
Date Added: September 16, 2016

I already owned this book, but hadn’t added it to my TBR list for some reason.  It’s the sequel to my friend and fellow writer’s novel An Airship Named Desire.  I still need to read the first Airship, which is conveniently on my Kindle.

Title: The Forgetting
Author: Sharon Cameron
Date Added: September 16, 2016

I was immediately interested when the first line of the blurb stated that the MC lived in the land of Canaan, which is often equated with the Promised Land so VII Sense tingling even though I know it’s just a shared reference.  I still like it. Then the “forgetting” thing happened.  Every 12 years all memories are forgotten and lost forever unless they’re written down.  Memory is a huge thing for me in stories (it also tingles my VII sense for various reasons, too), and only the main character Nadia retains hers in this strange land.  As the time of forgetting approaches, she has to stop an unseen enemy with an ally who will forget her if they don’t do it before that time comes.

Title: Wicked as They Come
Series Title: Blud
Author: Delilah S. Dawson
Date Added: September 17, 2016

I haven’t read a sexy vampire story since I was into Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake series before she went totally porno, and prior to that it was Anne Rice.  I don’t like Twilight for reasons beyond the writing style, and though I did enjoy Elizabeth Hunter’s Elemental Mysteries series, I haven’t had a chance to get back to it.

I have Cupcakes and Machetes to blame again for this addition.  Her review of it was all I really needed.  Not only is it about a sexy vampire, it also features another hidden world.  Those are kind of my favorite as I’ve been trying to get off this planet fervently for the past few years.  Also, the vampires aren’t the bad guys (so it would seem), and in fact may soon be the victims of genocide!  I love tales that mix up paradigms.

Title: The Wonder
Author: Emma Donoghue
Date Added: September 19, 2016

This addition came from a fantastic review of By Hook or By Book.  Emma Donoghue is also the author of RoomI’ve neither read this nor seen the movie, but I hear nothing but wonderful things about the prior mentioned and the author. This particular novel is about a girl who supposedly subsists on “manna from heaven.”  The phenomenon is not that uncommon dating back to Victorian times; however, it may be the precursor to what we know now of as anorexia.  I’m both fascinated by the possibility in the story itself and the sad origin.

Title: Halfway to the Grave
Series Title: Night Huntress
Author: Jeaniene Frost
Date Added: September 19, 2016

I can’t even really put a link since this was recommended to me in a comment by Cupcakes and Machetes.  It has a vampire bounty hunter (as in a bounty hunter who’s a vampire a la D from Vampire Hunter D), and I just can’t say no to a hot vampire dude.

Note: Hilariously, I added this prior to finding the Vampire Hunter D fanfiction above.  This is clearly a vampire week.

Title: The Complete Sherlock Holmes
Author: Arthur Conan Doyle
Date Added: September 20, 2016

I really can’t believe I didn’t already have this on my TBR list for classics.  I was scrolling through my Goodreads newsfeed, and someone had added The Sign of Fours, which made me check to see if I had Doyle’s famous detective on my reading list.  I thought I had it there and on my Kindle, but I was wrong on both accounts.  Well both wrongs have now been righted.  I purchased the complete works for a paltry $0.99.  I’m not sure what my next classic reading will be, but I’ll be sure to fit Sherlock in at some point.

Side note.  I sincerely doubt I’ll be able to read this without thinking of Benedict Cumberbatch’s beautiful rendition of Sherlock *swoon*

sherlock


Books Added to Goodreads To Reread List This Week: 0


Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Solid Ground
Author: Katherine McIntyre
Date Purchased: September 16, 2016

I actually read this prior to its release (I was a beta reader), but hadn’t purchased it yet, which I did today.  It’s a quick read at only 26 pages about best friends in love and the distant between stars that could divide them.

Title: Crane
Series Title: The Legends Saga
Author: Stacey Rourke
Date Purchased: September 16, 2016

As fore mentioned it was free on Kindle so I guess I didn’t purchase it per se, but it is now in my possession.


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: 9/14/16          The State of the Reader: 9/28/16–.

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The State of the Reader: 9/14/16

<–The State of the Reader: 9/7/16          The State of the Reader: 9/21/16–>

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

Books Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Mystical Qabalah
Author: Dion Fortune
Date Added: August 13, 2012
Date Started: Unknown
Date Finished: September 12, 2016

Mystical Qabalah, TheAfter more than a decade, I finally finished this book (pay no attention to the date added.  I attempted to read this long before Goodreads existed).  I’ll say what I said in my (currently drafted) review.  The reason I read this is due to Final Fantasy VII.  This is probably the first thing I ever read because of that game (I really should make a list of all the volumes I can say this about; both read and TBR).  Since the Qabalah concerns the Tree of Life, which is made up of the Holy Sephiroth, you can probably divine why I made such a choice.  So yes, a video game caused me to take up (more) theology studies.  What’s this about them being worthless wastes of time again?

While I can’t even say that I’m remotely adept in Western Occultism, I do have a wonderful, metaphysical diagram for how I think (at the very least).  I believe with every problem you can’t just look at one issue but how it connects with everything else, which is integral to understanding the Tree of Life.

I should have my review of it up by this evening.  I’m desperately trying not to just talk about how it equates to FFVII, because ASOIAF deserves so blog time, too :p

Suffice it to say that (with only a few caveats) I highly recommend this volume, if you’re looking for a comprehensive study of the Qabalah/Jewish Mysticism.  While it’s not something you can just skim through, Fortune does break it down as simply as something so esoteric, philosophical, and metaphysical can be rendered palatable to those willing to consume.

Now I have to pick another reference book, but I think I already decided on The Poetic Edda (which is another volume I’m reading due in part to FFVII).


Books Currently Reading: 3
Change from Last Week:
-1

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 14%

I finished the first book or “branch” yesterday and started reading the next part “The Children of Llyr.”  I only got through two paragraphs because I had other things to do, but Walton’s writing is so engrossing plus I’ve head the name Llyr before in The Prydain Chronicles.  One of the books is called The Castle of Llyr.  I think Pwyll is mentioned in the Chronicles, as well, but I can’t quite recall where.  Either way, I’m going through this much faster than I thought.  It’s not nearly as stodgy and stuffy as you might expect such a compendium to be.  If the book keeps up the momentum, it’s on its way to a five star rating, and I need to look at some of Walton’s fiction/fantasy works.

Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: May 11, 2016
Date Started: August 24, 2016

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 54%

This book is so damn good, and it gets more interesting with every reading session.  I’m now at a point where I have an idea what might go down, and I can’t wait to see how the author handles it.  It’s probably going to be heartbreaking and brutal.  I won’t give anything away.  I’m so happy I started reading it before I knew anything about a movie.

Title: Sigil
Author: Aidan J. Reid
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Started: August 23, 2016

Medium: Kindle
Progress: 81%

I feel like I’ve slowed down in reading this because I’m not at work (ironically).  There seems to be a ceasura in the action, the deep breath before the storm.  I hope I’m right.  Reid delivered very well before with Spectrum, so history is on his side.

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