Top 20 Books of 2017

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


Total Books Read: 73

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

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

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

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

19. Dweller by Jeff Strand

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

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The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)

The Raven Cycle

<–Blue Lily, Lily Blue (TRC #3)                                                                                  Opal (TRC #4.5)–>

Title: The Raven King
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: April 4, 2017
Date Started: April 8, 2017
Date Finished: May 24, 2017
Reading Duration: 46 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Pages: 448
Publication Date: April 26, 2016
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Media: eBook/Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: The Wizard in the Tree, Welsh Mythology, Final Fantasy X, Inception

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.


The finale of Maggie Stiefvater’s illustrious YA series (which I didn’t even realize was YA until I realized it was YA) has both the love and loss that’s expected of the genre without the cliche.  The reason for Noah’s existence and draw to Gansey’s court is made abundantly clear, and more than one relationship therein is resolved.  Ms. Stiefvater not only manages to introduce another member this late in the game, though he was mentioned/seen briefly before so not entirely novel, but she also gave us more unexpected relationships.  So unexpected I had to leave a potential genre out of my list as just the mention of such would be too much of a clue, and it is so uncontrived, perfect, and pure that giving it away would be a sin.  If you’ve read the final book or are curious, I’ll talk about it in the spoiler markers below.  It doesn’t give away the main plot, but it does give away one of the major relationships.

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The State of the Writer: 6/4/17

<–The State of the Writer: 5/28/17          The State of the Writer: 6/11/17–>

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

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 267,343
Prior Word Count: 267,039
Word Difference: +250
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 10

Because I’m a glutton for punishment, I decided to elaborate on Aeris’s nightmare in this chapter.  Ugh, I needed something funny to do after writing that, and I’m not completely finished with the section updates yet.  There’s obviously going to be an aftermath to it.

I’m still not sure what I’m going to do about the chapter breaks or if I’m going to do anything at all, and yes, I’m still on the first edit *sigh*  I figured it makes sense to add as much as I can do now before doing subsequent edits.  I’d like to finish up the additional parts tonight, but I got a really late start, and I have so much to do.

Quote: Sleep took her quickly under emerald watch, and Sephiroth then shut his eyes.  Not to rest as he had said, but rather to think and plan.  What he would make her.  What books he would buy.  What jewelry she might like.  


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Planning

I still have The Raven King, Eidolon, and A Father’s Protection to review in that order.  I also just finished Hyrule Historia, but I’m not going to write a separate review post for that; I’ll just talk about it in my next State of the Reader weekly.  I’ll probably put whatever I say on Goodreads though.

I haven’t even prepped The Raven King yet, and I’m hoping to get to that tonight, too.


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: 5/28/17          The State of the Writer: 6/11/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 5/31/17

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

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

Samples Read This Week

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

Books Purchased This Week: 4

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

Paper Magician, The

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

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The State of the Writer: 5/28/17

<–The State of the Writer: 5/21/17          The State of the Writer: 6/4/17–>

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

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 267,039
Prior Word Count: 268,194
Word Difference: -1155
Status: Editing
Progress: 1st edit of Chapter 10

What should be purely editing and figuring out where additional text fits has of course turned into something else.  I want to expand on a latter occurence, create a catalyst, if you will.  I still haven’t figured out where or if I can break this chapter up.  There’s not really any viable part for it, but I may not have to since I am cutting things out.  The main issue comes later when Aeris has yet another nightmare, and I use the * chapter break indicator, but it’s not really so much a chapter break as an introduction to a dream sequence.  Also, the catalyst I’m adding has to do with her terror.

I’ll tell you a secret.  When I get into idea mode where I cant stop taking things down, often the same thing just said in a different way, I write it all.  Even the most outlandish and inappropriate ideas I put in my notes.  Because while I’m not going to utilize the more risque, I can still takes pieces of it or remove the more over the top sections for use.  If you ever find yourself in this mode where ideas just flood, write it all down.  It doesn’t matter if it’s weird, gross, unconventional, or off the wall, you never know where you might be able to use it even if it has to be modified first.  No one should see your notes unless you want them to.  This is why we edit.

Quote: The wheels are in motion.  The task has been set.  Judgment is calling their names.” 


Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Planning

I’ve been finishing books like a fiend, which means I have quite a backlog of reviews to complete.  These are the four I have left in order from top left to bottom right (I do reviews in the order I finish the books), and I can’t wait to review Radiance and its sequel Eidolon more than any of them.  A Father’s Protection will be easy since it’s so short, but I’ll have to think about what to say about The Raven Boys.


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: 5/21/17          The State of the Writer: 6/4/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 5/24/17

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

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. Oak and Mist by Helen Jones: Passed – Seems like your typical YA “MC finds another world and gets involved in a love triangle with two hot otherworldly boys.”  There was a magic sword she had to find so there’s some Arthurian Legend in there, but it just didn’t grab me.
  2. Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink: Kept – I’ve heard a little bit about the radio show this is based on, but no details.  I enjoyed the magical realism setting and will probably look for a podcast of the radio program at some point.
  3. A Dove of the East by Mark Helprin: Kept – I’ve been in love with Mr. Helprin’s lanauge since Winter’s Tale, so it’s no surprise I kept this one.
  4. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb: Kept – I enjoyed it enough to keep it and besides it’s about an assassin.
  5. The Briar King by Greg Keyes: Kept – This week’s samplings haven’t particularly blown me away, but they’re solid enough for a keep.
  6. The Bone Doll’s Twin by Llyn Flewelling: Kept – Same as the above.  A lot of the books I’m sampling this week remind me of the writing I enjoyed growing up.
  7. Pathfinders by Aidan J. Reid: Passed – I really enjoyed his Spectrum, but I wasn’t overly fond of the ending of Sigil. This one just didn’t grab me, but I’m going to keep my eyes open for anything else he puts out.
  8. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff: Kept (RWTR) – Utterly absorbing from the get-go.  I thought only the beginning would be told in the style it is with an interview between the two main characters, but per some reviews I glanced it, that’s the book’s style.  It doesn’t hinder the flow at all.
  9. The Body Electric by Beth Revis: Kept – I think the title is a reference to the Walt Whitman poem, and the beginning chapters are heavily charged.
  10. The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley: Kept (RWTR) – Another magical realism book who’s language I just want to devour.
  11. Agent to the Stars by John Scalzi: Kept (RTWR) – I’m no stranger to John Scalzi.  I read (most of) his Old Man’s War about a decade ago.  I liked it, but I never finished the last few chapters for some reason.  I love the quick, witty language in this book, and if I’m recalling OMW’s correctly, it had a similar flair.  I’m also fond of the title’s double entendre.

Books Purchased This Week: 3

Title: The Bone Doll’s Twin
Series Title: The Tamir Triad
Author: Lynn Flewelling
Date Added: June 9, 2016
Date Purchased: May 20, 2017

Bone Doll's Twin, TheMedia: eBook/Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: Eidolon
Series Title: Wraith Kings
Author: Grace Draven
Date Added: May 23, 2017
Date Purchased: May 23, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $3.99
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Reader: 5/17/17

<–The State of the Reader: 5/10/17          The State of the Reader: 5/24/17–>

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. Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner: Kept (RWTR) – This is a story in the tradition of Redwall, and initially wasn’t sure if I should think of the rats as anthropomorphic or as more like the rabbits of Watership Down, able to speak in their own language, but still quintessentially rabbits.  Since this book opened with a chase, I couldn’t decide whether to imagine them running as rats do or running as humans do.  I think they might have been running as rats, but they wear clothes and have a hidden city beneath Topside (the world of humanity).  The story seems fascinating.  A fascist dictator has taken over their city, terrorizing frightened citizens, but two brothers Vincent and Victor escaped forced impression in the Kill Army, and they eventually team up with another rebel to take back their city.
  2. The Book of the Dun Cow by Walter Wangerin, Jr.: Passed – I was quite excited for this, but the main character comes off as a chauvinistic ass in rooster form, and the writing isn’t my style.
  3. Talon by Julie Kagawa: Kept/Purchased (RWTR) – Dragons that can take human form, trying to keep out of the sight of St. George with rogue dragons in the world for unknown purpose.  The story drops you right into the lives of twins (which are rare among dragon kind) as they try to adapt to live among humans.
  4. The Monster Within by Kelly Hashway: Kept (RWTR) – Another book that starts out perfectly.  Sam has been dead for four days, but her boyfriend Ethan has figured out a way to call her back from the grave.  The story opens with her clawing her way out of the dirt, but how Ethan did it is still unknown (though he does admit he had help), and Sam is more than just a revived human…she’s not a zombie, not a vampire, but some kind of weird halfway in between that has to feed of of humans to survive.  I’m dying to know where this will take us 😉
  5. Robbed of Sleep by Mercedes Yardley: Passed – I don’t seem to have an affinity for short stories (unless they’re written by GRRM).  There was a brief one page story that was okay, but the second longer one just didn’t do much for me even though I know it could’ve been interesting.  Ah well.
  6. Radiance by Grace Draven: Kept/Purchase (RWTR) – HOLY SHIT THIS BOOK IS AMAZING.  Omg, where do I even begin.  Well, I knew I was going to purchase it not even a chapter in.  So Ildiko is betrothed to marry Brishen, a Kai prince, a humanoid, but not human people.  What the book did was brilliant.  It not only showed the bride’s disgust, fear, and horror at marrying what she considers a monster, but it showed his point of view as well.  To the Kai, humans are just as horrifying, and the way Brishen describes our eyes was just perfect.  The Kai have no iris or pupil, just a blazing yellowy-white orb that’s light sensitive since they’re people of the night.  To them our irises and pupils that contract with the light must be hella creepy, and it really made me think though I’ve obviously thought about eerie eyes before.  Anyway, they wind up meeting by chance just before the wedding, though neither knows whom the other is, and it’s both hilarious and perfect.  They both still find each other odd, but realize their personalities click, though it’s not until the end Brishen finds out her name.  I bought this book immediately, and I can’t wait to read it.  I may have to shuffle some of the order around.
  7.  Lumière by Jacqueline Garlick: Kept – The premise of a world trapped in twilight is interesting.  It reminds me of (the obvious) Twilight Princess and the Dark City, Treno in Final Fantasy IX.  The main character has a fresh, crisp voice with obvious English inflection, and I’m curious about her strange malady.
  8. After the Woods by Kim Savage: Kept (RWTR) – What drew me to this was the insta-action it starts with, and the fact that the catalyst for the story occurs without it being said.  Neither we nor the main character really know what happened, because she’s repressed the memory.  I like that she uses snarky deflection (yes…I can like snarkiness, but it has to be for a purpose and not just for the sake of being snarky), because that’s something I can relate to (I am the deflection queen!).
  9. Ruined by Amy Tintera: Kept (RWTR) – If you’re looking for a book about hatred and vengeance for a worthy reason, look no further than Ruined.  I love the double entendre involved in that titled, because the main character’s lost kingdom is literally called Ruina, and its people are called Ruined.  I want to know why the two allied nations hate them so much, though I think it’s a simple reason of hating/fearing their power.
  10. The Moorchild by Eloise Jarvis McGraw: Kept – Recommended by my studious friend at The Ink Garden, the language in it reminds of the books I loved growing up.  The beginning is a bit winding to the point, but I didn’t mind at all.
  11. The Guardian by Elizabetta Holcomb: Passed – I was teetering on a fine edge with this one.  It didn’t really grab me, but it had really good reviews that praised the characters and the writing.  I didn’t find the latter that compelling; there was a lot of telling instead of showing.  It was only $0.99 on Kindle, which isn’t a lot to spend, but I just couldn’t see myself staying interested in it, so I ultimately decided to pass.
  12. Dirk Gently Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams: Passed – It almost feels like blasphemy to pass on this, since it’s by the author of the illustrious and irreverent Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, but I think I may just not be in the mood for this kind of parody right now.

Books Purchased This Week: 6

Title: Talon
Series Title:
Talon
Author:
Julie Kagawa
Date Added:
May 24, 2016
Date Purchased: May 12, 2017

Talon

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

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 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

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