A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

A Court of Thorns and Roses

<–ACOTAR #1                                                                                              ACOTAR #3–>

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
Date Finished: June 11, 2017
Reading Duration: 41 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal Romance

Pages: 626
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Media: Hardback (Library)

Shares Paradigms With: The Mabinogion Tetralogy (Welsh Mythology), The Poetic & Prose Edda (Norse Mythology), Classic Mythology (Hades and Persephone), The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas by Ursula K. LeGuin

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.


*******Spoilers for A Court of Thorns and Roses*******

I have learned to eat crow.

Sometimes you have to admit when your expectations about a trilogy are completely wrong.  When you saw through one of the author’s ruses, but completely missed another and far more important one that would’ve utterly changed your point of view about a character.

This book demolished my beliefs about Rhys even as it completely validated my feelings about Tamlin.  I tried as hard as Feyre to hold onto my hatred of the High Lord of Night, but once the truth about someone is revealed there is no going back.

Continue reading

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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Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #3)

The Raven Cycle

<–The Dream Thieves (TRC #2)                                The Raven King (TRC #4)–>

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017
Date Finished: April 7, 2017
Reading Duration: 34 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: October 21, 2014
Media: Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Sleeping Beauty, Welsh Mythology, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, Inception

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.


****Spoilers for The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves in the review****

I haven’t read a series so diligently since GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire, and I can say with all honesty that this is the best one I’ve read since Martin’s masterpiece.  The third installment brings back the strength that the second slightly lacked, though The Dream Thieves made up for it in dangerous whimsy.  The land of dreams is a perilous place, but even more so when those dreams become flesh.

In Blue Lily the stakes are far higher because there is far more to lose. Maura’s disappearance at the end of the last book pulls this into sharp relief with only a cryptic note to her whereabouts.  This adds to the “absent mother” paradigm that’s just generally pervasive and ties Blue and Ronan together for the latter’s catatonic one (when she’s not in Cabeswater).

The magic in this book and the series entirely is more subtle than flashy.  It comes in fits and bursts like the ley line’s influence even though it centers around psychic matriarchy, bordering the line between magical realism and the general fantasy genre.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 4/5/17

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

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

Samples Read This Week: 7

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

Books Purchased This Week: 1

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

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

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

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 3/15/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/8/17          The State of the Reader: 3/22/17–>

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 Finished This Week: 1

Title: Men of Greywater Station
Author: George R. R. Martin
Date Added: March 14, 2017
Date Started: March 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 14, 2017
Genre: Science Fiction

Media: Online
Publication Date: June 1976
Publisher: Pocket Books
Pages: 29

I decided to read this yesterday after listening to Preston Jacobs’s review of another GRRM short story (which is why it was never on my TBR or Currently Reading lists), the name of which I can’t recall now.  Preston’s review of Greywater is right here though for the interested, and the link to the story itself is above (just click “Online”).  It was a quick read at only 29 pages.  There are also links to listen to the audio or read the short on Preston’s review, which is how I was able to do so.

I’m not going to write a review of it since I linked to Preston’s more than serviceable one, but I will say that I correctly guessed what was really going on.  I’m becoming used to the paradigms Martin uses.  Like most authors he falls into a pattern and recycles his own motifs.  I have absolutely no problem with this as a writer who does the same.  I truly believe that GRRM has already “given away” the ending of Song in his prior tales.  It’s just the matter of divining how to put the pieces together.  Martin is an extremely subtle writer, and he requires a bit of intelligence and introspection from his readers.  He’s not just going to give you the answer or lay the meaning bare.  Rather, he’s going to make you dig for it and question it even after you’re certain you know the truth (it reminds me of a certain game I love).

Speaking of which (symbolically), I’m almost certain that one of Dany’s dragons is going to be injured in a way to lose a wing, and I’m saying that because Martin has done this before.  Literally in The Ice Dragon and metaphorically in Windhaven (one of the parts is literally called “One-Wing”).  As mentioned above, Martin recycles motifs, and reading his short stories, you see similar paradigms as the ones in Song;: hive-minded, mind controlling entities, civilizations existing after some great cataclysm, portents from the sky that are actual spaceships/aliens, humans usurping the land from the original inhabitants, etc. (okay…this is not to beat a dead horse, but all of these things are also paradigms in FFVII.in some way.  The civilization after a cataclysm fits if you look at all of the games as on one timeline and remember what happened in FFVI.  That’s all I’m going to say about this for now, since the plans to write those essays are still go).  This is my only original prediction for Song’s seventh season (omg…).  All the other ones I prescribe to were created by righteous others.


Samples Read This Week: 5

  1. Chasing Embers (Ben Garston #1) by James Bennett: Kept – It starts off in a bar and introduces questions, issues, and a potential supernatural bar fight, which is enough to keep me interested.  Nor can I forget that I found this through one of Kim’s (or By Hook or By Book) reviews!
  2. Nemesis (Nemesis #1) by Anna Banks Kept – The main character’s name is Sepora who’s fleeing a father who wants to exploit her special abilities.  Huh.  This was another one I found due to Kim 🙂
  3. The Passion of Dolssa by Julie Berry: Kept – This was recommended to me a while ago by the lovely writer of The Ink Garden.  The writing is lush and brilliant, and the opening chapter entices you into a world of secrets and intrigue.
  4. The Darkness That Comes Before (The Prince of Nothing) by R. Scott Bakker: Kept/RWTR – Not only did I keep this, I put it on my really-want-to-read bookshelf (RWTR).  The beginning is brutal in showcasing the realities of war, exile, and the diseases and depravities that almost always follow.  Raw and beautiful is one of my favorite styles of writing (it’s what I try to emulate).
  5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: Kept/RWTR – Give me stories based on fairy tales any day of the week.  There’s also a Song parallel in the description of the character Frost as a “blue-eyed winter demon,” especially considering he’s the king of winter (common paradigms are common).  It’s odd though.  This is another story based on Vasilisa the Beautiful, the same as Vassa in the Night, which I didn’t finish.  The writing in Bear/Nightingale is so much more lush and atmospheric than Vassa.  Plus it’s not an urban fantasy or YA.

Continue reading

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #2)

The Raven Cycle

<–The Raven Boys (TRC #1)                                   Blue Lily, Lily Blue (TRC #3)–>

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 37 days
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal/Supernatural, Young Adult (YA), Romance

Pages: 453
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 17, 2013
Media: Kindle

Shares Paradigms With: Sleeping Beauty, Final Fantasy VII, Final Fantasy X, Inception, The Golden Compass/Northern Lights

Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same. Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life. Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after….


*******Spoilers for the first book The Raven Boys in the review*******

“It was as though he had dreamt of the Tree of Life and awoke with an apple in his hand.”
Northern Lights

I apologize for my blatant narcissism in using a quote from my own work in the beginning of this review, and I also apologize for seeming to steal the idea from the Well-Red Mage and co who come up with brilliant quotes for each of their entries.  I’ve always been a fan of quotes in the beginning of stories and chapters.  It’s something I did both in Northern Lights and my original paranormal romance The Serpent’s Tale.  All stories regardless of media are part of the zeitgeist, the spirit of the times that connects them all, and The Dream Thieves brought this quote and concept fiercely to the forefront, since it implies pulling things out of dreams, and that’s exactly what Ronan can do.

Now that disclaimers and pleasantries are out of the way, the second book in Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle is a bit slower than the first, probably because it has such a heavy focus on dreams.  The narrative still builds and lays the foundation for something truly epic in installments to come, but there’s something fittingly raw in this story that focuses on Ronan, the most blatantly bitter member of Gansey’s crew.

At the end of The Raven Boys, Ronan drops a bombshell that reverberates throughout the entire second book.  He discloses Chainsaw, his pet raven, was literally drawn from his dreams into this reality, *spoiler* and he inherited this ability from his murdered father, Niall Lynch, who pulled everything he both owns and holds dear from the dreamscape.  It is unknown whether or not either or Ronan’s brothers, Matthew or Declan, also have this ability, *end spoiler* and throughout the novel he draws both horrors and wonders from the recesses of his mind with some of the living things being not a curious hatchling, but rather monstrous entities hellbent on tearing the raven boy apart.

Continue reading

The State of the Reader: 3/8/17

<–The State of the Reader: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>

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 Finished This Week: 2

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 37 days

The second book in the series was a bit slower and just a tad weaker than the first.  This is not to say there weren’t parts that sent a chill down my spine and a thrill through my heart, but Ronan is a tough character to follow.  He does reckless things that are both hard to explain and difficult to understand even knowing his situation.  You feel bad for him, but then you grow exasperated with him due to his acerbic nature and cutting attitude.  He’s of “beg for forgiveness instead of ask for permission” crowd, acts on impulse, and doesn’t seem to care about the fallout.

I’m going to try to review this by next weekend.  That will give it time to marinate in my mind so I can better express my thoughts.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Date Finished: March 4, 2017
Reading Duration: 18 days
Media: PDF/Kindle

I finished my friend’s wonderful novel and am now left with an issue.  I have nothing bad to say about it.  You’re probably thinking this is a good thing, but as I said last week, writers thrive on constructive criticism and I don’t have any to give.  Besides some minor typos, there’s nothing I’d change about the narrative.  The only thing I can possibly question is his audience.  I believe this is supposed to be a YA, but there’s some language and one particularly graphic scene.  However, The Dream Thieves is also apparently YA and it has strong language, too.  Regardless what I’m going to say, I’m happy and honored I was able to read this, and I can’t wait to see it on bookshelves.

Update: I sent him my feedback through FB messenger, and he was genuinely delighted.  This is a polished edition of the story, so he was quite happy that I didn’t find any major issues.  He also sent me the companion book to this one, which I’m excited to read so I can get the other side of the story.


Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Purchased: March 4, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $5.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Lies of Locke Lamora
Series Title: Gentlemen Bastards
Author: Scott Lynch
Date Added: October 11, 2012
Date Purchased: March 7, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $1.99
Retailer: Amazon

I was going through my downloaded-prior bookshelf on GR just to see if anything was on Amazon (Kindle) for cheap.  I almost bought another book that was $2.99, but decided to keep my limit at under $2.00.  There are still some situations where a physical copy is less expensive than Kindle.  In this case though, the price was more than right for a book that’s also on my really-want-to-read shelf.


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: March 4, 2017
Date Started: March 5, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 12%

In karaoke there’s a concept called “sing and bring.”  It entails bringing up the next song you want to sing when you’re name is called to sing the last song you put in.  For some reason, I’m thinking about that as I read and add these books.  In all honesty, I consider this series just one long story.  As I finish the last, I immediately buy and add the next.  I’m hoping this installment delves into Blue’s origins.  We were given drips and drops about it in the first; absolutely no mention of it in the second (since that concerned Ronan), so I’m hoping we discover more about her elusive father with the ridiculous nickname.  I have my own theories about him, but we’ll see if I’m right when I read it.

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Illustrator: Ben J. Adams
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Started: March 3, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 20%

This novel reminds me great of Strange Things.  Power outages, parallel universes, strange girls.  The main characters are two brothers, and I’ve found that sometimes if characters are too similar, it can be difficult to keep track, but Brady is the elder and more cautious, while Felix is the adventurous child prodigy.  I’m excited to see where this goes.  The tension just keeps tightening.

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 34%

I’m kind of in a stride with this book.  It doesn’t overly excite me to read it, but I don’t dread when it’s in the rotation, and it’s kind of a “Hm, I wonder what the Prospero siblings are up to now.”  It’s like catching up with friends who have hobbies that aren’t your interest, but you care about them, because they’re their hobbies.  Like The Quantum Door, the author manages to differentiate the siblings so that I don’t have to constantly remind myself who’s who, though so far there have only been two others introduced besides the main character Miranda.

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: 34%

I have a bit of a confession…I’m starting to lose interest in this book.  I know. I know.  I’ve been talking about studying astrophysics and quantum physics, so how dare I falter a book about the same.  It’s certainly not a slight on Professor Hawking’s writing, but he has such a brilliant mind that I have to concentrate fully in order to absorb all of the information, and for many reasons, my mind tends to wander, and concentration can be a difficult beast to catch.  I do wonder how I would do with this topic in a classroom setting.  I’m going to keep reading especially since I’m almost finished the first part.  What I may do is read that, which I’d count as one book (this version just happens to have both), and then I’d read another reference book in the interim (The Hyrule Historia.  I already know) before returning to read The Universe in a Nutshell.  I’d figure out the logistics on Goodreads later.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 67%

So the king found out what his asshole nephews did, but it was at the end of a chapter.  The poor handmaiden told him, and he not only believed her, but made her his own queen and promised vengeance.  I cannot wait to read the next chapter.  Oh, you have no idea how much I love righteous vengeance (if you’re reading myThe Broken Rose fanfiction, you’ll find out in a later chapter.  Shit.  Gets.  Real).


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

No chapter updates for a while, per her last reply to my comment.  She has to take care of some personal shenanigans (which I totally understand) so like I do to so many of my readers, I shall have to wait.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 4

Title: Traitor’s Blade
Series Title: Greatcoats
Author: Sebastian de Castell
Date Added: March 5, 2017

There’s a kick ass review of this over on Cupcakes and Machetes’ blog, and it was so, er, explosive (you’ll understand how dirty that joke was if you go to her blog.  I’m a mess…hahaha *gross*) I had to add this book.  Plus the series is called Greatcoats.  I love greatcoats aka long coats aka badass longcoats.

Title: Descendants
Series Title: The Arete Series
Author: Rae Else
Date Added: March 5, 2017

I had the honor of being asked by another author to beta read their work, this one in the form of an eArc.  I downloaded it on my Kindle this evening and am going to try to get to it before release date April 12.  Either way, I’m going to purchase to support the author whose blog (and the post about the book in question) can be found here!

Title: Gathering Blue
Series Title: The Giver
Author: Lois Lowry
Date Added: March 7. 2017

I had no idea The Giver had a sequel and was a series (I think there are least four books in it).  I read the series opener a long time ago back in high school, and I have not seen the movie.  I liked the book’s ending.  It was ambiguous, bittersweet, and made sense for the type of novel it was.  I heard the movie went a different direction, because people tend to like happy endings.  Since I haven’t seen it, I can’t really judge whether or not this was a good move.

I was going through all of the books I’ve marked as read on Goodreads, and it’s less than 400!  I’ve read many more books than that, but memory is not always kind to the Shameful Narcissist, so while I’m pretty sure I’ve read over a thousand books, fucked if I can remember what they are.  I can envision my high school’s library, and I’m trying to imagine myself walking through the sections I used to haunt in an attempt to recall the books I found and read there.  I’m trying the same thing with my old local library and bookstore.  What I could do is look at the books I’ve read on Amazon and see what the recommendations are in an attempt to jog my memory.  This will have to be another organizational project though.

Either way, I added a bunch of Ms. Lowry’s Anastasia series, which I read ad nauseum as a teenager (if you haven’t read her Autumn Street do it.  It’s a book about racism as seen through the eyes of a child), and that’s when I noticed this unknown series for a book I read years ago.

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Date Added: March 8, 2017

A Beauty and the Beast retelling that comes with high acclaim, or at least one of my Goodreads’ friends gave it high marks.  It’s average rating is above 4.00, which means quite a few people found it worthy.  I love fairy tale retellings, and I use fairy tales a lot in my own works both fanfiction and original, so finding one is almost always an insta-add.  I like to see how other authors shuffle the well known narrative and tropes around, and I’m obviously not above doing a bit of shuffling myself.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 443
Change from Last Week: +3


A Sample Question

So I download samples to my Kindle and decide what to keep, what to put on my really-want-to-read shelf, and what to put in my passed-based-on-sample shelf.  I don’t include these because I generally don’t talk about books I’ve removed, and anything I put on an additional shelf is already on my TBR list.  I could start including what samples I’ve downloaded if you’d be interested in that.  Since I’d be talking about what either attracts me to or repels me from a book, it could make for some interesting conversation.  Let me know your thoughts down below!


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: 3/1/17          The State of the Reader: 3/15/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 3/1/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/22/17          The State of the Reader: 3/8/17–>

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 Declared DNF This Week: 1

Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Series Title: Stoker and Holmes
Author: Colleen Gleason
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: February 21, 2017
Date Declared DNF: February 24, 2017
Reading Duration: 3 days

Media: Kindle
Progress: 11%

It seems like a record at only three days to declare DNF, but I started skimming around 7% progress so I knew that was a bad sign.  This is not a bad book though.  It’s well-written and witty with Miss Holmes (the narrator) as a crisp, clever voice.  It just didn’t tickle my fancy, because I’m not really one for Victorian mysteries.  Now it’s possible I may come across one that holds my interest, and I feel if you’re into that sub-genre, you’ll take a great deal of enjoyment from this.  I’m looking at you Ignited Moth and Cupcakes and Machetes since you mentioned it for your book club 🙂  In fact, I’m hoping you decide on it, because I’m curious about the plot; the book just wasn’t my cup of tea ;p

There’s a certain point you reach with either maturity or understanding where you realize that just because you don’t like something, it doesn’t mean it’s not valid or good. I’m learning this from trudging through my extensive reading list (and gaming backlog). Something may not be for me (FPS, urban fantasy, etc.), but it’s a preference issue not a value issue.


Books Purchased This Week: 4

Title: The Golden Apple
Series Title: The Dark Forest
Author: Michelle Diener
Date Added: February 25, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The Quantum Door
Author: Jonathon Ballagh
Date Added: February 18, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: An Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

Unattractive Vampire, An

Media: Kindle
Price: $2.99
Retailer: Amazon

Title: The King of Elfland’s Daughter
Author: Lord Dunsany
Date Added: June 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 24, 2017

King of Elfland's Daughter, The

Media: Kindle
Price: $0.99
Retailer: Amazon

As you know, my never ending quest is to decrease the number of books on TBR list in any way possible without missing out on something phenomenal to read.  Since I have over 500 items on on, logic dictates that a good percentage of the will not hold my interest until the end; therefore, I should attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff so that what is on my list is what I genuinely want to read.  The best way for me to do this is to either download samples (where available) to gauge my interest in the novel and act accordingly, or to buy really cheap books on my Kindle with prices low enough that I won’t care either way.  I spent a little over $5.00 yesterday for four books, which I consider a good deal.  I almost spent around $30 for seven books (at $0.01 a piece, but shipping costs add up), but decided against that.  I downloaded a few samples, too (you can see them on my sample bookshelf on Goodreads if you’re so interested).  The goal is to download a sample, read it, decide whether I’m passing on it (there’s a shelf for that, too) or keeping it.  I was doing this before with the sample downloads, but I only did one batch of 25.  Eventually, I want to download samples for all the books I can (except for the ones I know I’m going to read), and I really, really need to start utilizing my local library.  I’ll save so much money.


Books Received This Week: 1

img_9808The cover is a bit hard to see, because it’s one of those shiny, library cases.  This is the other $0.01 book I bought a few weeks ago that I received the other day.  Again, I’m going to modify how I post purchased and received books, but I figured since I should tie up this loose end.  Another book the vein of Redwall, Watership Down, and Wind in the Willows.  I grew up loving fantasy stories that featured animals, and I really think reading them helped shaped my perspectives.


Books Currently Reading: 5

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 23%

This remains a fun, little romp.  It’s one of those stories that has a huge background, but gives it out in drips and drops.  Since the main character is over 500 years old, she has a long, rich history and retains a wealth of knowledge.  Right now, it’s mostly a fetch quest that’s hopping from person to person with some random information tidbits thrown in.  I think the author is playing the game of not telling us everything about the characters in terms of powers and abilities.  This can be a hit or miss method.  If you fail to adequately explain how they manage to escape a dire strait with the rules of your story intact, you risk losing the confidence of the audience; however, if you’re careful with your foreshadowing and how you dribble information, it can turn out quite well.  So long as you don’t break the rules of your own fictional universe, though in this story, the rules haven’t been entirely established.  We know magic exists.  We know there are (conditionally) immortal characters, and we know that these fore mentioned characters can bind other entities to their will.

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: 34%

The chapter I’m on now is much easier to follow than the prior one on black holes.  It’s about the beginning and the end of the universe, and it’s funny that speculation about both is equally valid.  The moments after the singularity known as the Big Bang are still a mystery since the laws of physics as we know them today could not exist.  The end of the universe is also up for speculation.  I like the theory of the “big crunch,” where everything collapses on itself at the end, which might possibly prompt another Big Bang.  The thought of that is comforting(?) and right, and it brings up the question of how many times has it already happened.  What universe are we living in now (though there’s no way we could ever know…)?  Have we done this dance millions of times in eons beyond count?  I often get the feeling that all of this has happened before, and we’re all part of this eternal cosmic dance.  There’s no way of knowing if prior universes were exactly the same (like that episode of Futurama “The Late Philip J. Fry” suggest), but everything would always be made up of the same stuff.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 81%

This book is slower than the first one, but I suppose that’s to be expected for a novel about dreams and dreaming.  I can’t say much about it, because it would give integral plot points away.  I’ve avoided adding the third book Blue Lily, Lily Blue, because I don’t want to read the blurb and be spoiled, but I plan to read it immediately after I finish this.

*******Warning: Discussions about rape below.*******

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 67%

Okay.  I may have to rant about this.  Last week I talked about how the characters in this section weren’t nearly as likable as the characters in the other sections.  While those characters might have done not so smart and even arguably selfish things, they were still respectable people.  Well, in this section, the heir to the throne helps his brother rape his uncle’s maiden foot holder, and I nearly threw the book across the room.  I’m absolutely disgusted by this.  It wasn’t described (not that that makes it better), but she fought him the entire time, which he has the fucking audacity to bitch about.  All his brother says to him is “Well, you’ve had your fun,” and “Your beloved kisses like a bumblebee.”

are-you-fucking-kidding-meI’m not using the meme to take away how vile this was.  I just have no words.  Since these are the “heroes” of the story, I’m not hopeful there will be any comeuppance or at least not enough.  Their uncle (the king) doesn’t know about what happened (yet) so I’m hoping when he does find out what his younger nephew did, there will be hell to pay.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 82%

I was complaining about this on the Book of Faces, but I’m not finding much to critique with this work.  My friend gave it to me to beta read, which means he’s looking for critiques prior to him (re)submitting it to an agent, and I just can’t find anything to give him.  Every character is well written, even the “bad guy” who is a total asshole, but the reasons why are heartbreaking and cyclical.  I’m hoping I find something to “complain” about before I finish hehe.


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

Last week I finished and reviewed The Missing Orchid where I talked about the importance of doing BDSM correctly.  In my grand tradition of finding multiple examples of a paradigm at a time, the latest chapter of this fanfiction is also a paragon of that.  I’m not usually one for erotic fanfiction, not that I have anything against it (and I’ve dabbled a bit in erotic RP); it’s just not my thing.  However, this author has made me jump from one ship to another (canon ship to non-canon), and I actually now dislike the original ship I liked, much preferring the one she’s going for!

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 2

Title: Warm Bodies
Series Title: Warm Bodies
Author: Isaac Marion
Date Added: February 25, 2017

The story behind my adding this book is kind of hilarious and involves the orange shit stain in the Oval Office.  I was scrolling through Facebook and I saw that Lord Commander Marmalade was bitching on Twitter about this author writing an apocalyptic novel that had to do with him and how it wasn’t very good.  Mr. Marion gave a reply that amounted to “if the shoe fits,” though the dictator in chief hadn’t been his target.  I had no idea he was the author of Warm Bodies, a movie I’ve been wanting to see for a while.  I also have no idea if this is the novel in question, though it is (post) apocalyptic.  I support any artist who pisses that jack ass off, and I also love subversions of tropes.

Update:  Big old nope!  I found out that the author non-maliciously fabricated the conversation between him and Lord Dampnut lol.    I’m still going to read his book though and have already breezed through the sample.  Out of all the ones I’ve downloaded, it’s the most interesting.

Title: The Path of Flames
Series Title: Chronicles of the Black Gate
Author: Phil Tucker
Date Added: February 26, 2017

Look, don’t judge me.  This is partially my Kindle’s fault for recommending it, and…well, you know how I feel about white haired people.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 440
Change from Last Week: -111

The drastic change in the number of books on my list is due to me removing all but one per author (except in a few cases).  I had several for each author on my list prior with some authors I’ve never read before.  I figure I’ll have only one per and add another book by them as I finish it or not depending on how I liked the book.  The exceptions were for authors like GRRM and ones I know personally like Katherine McIntyre.  I also kept multiples if I owned the book physically or on Kindle (e.g. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms and The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin since I own both books in The Inheritance Trilogy).

I also made another “download sample” folder so I have one for current items and one for items I downloaded before.  This way I can check to see if I’ve downloaded a sample already.  There’s also a folder for books I’ve rejected and removed from my main list based on the sample downloads.  I grabbed a few samples from Amazon this week, so hopefully I’ll be able to weed some more books out based on that.


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: 2/22/17          The State of the Reader: 3/8/17–>

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The State of the Reader: 2/22/17

<–The State of the Reader: 2/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/1/17–>

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 Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Missing Orchid
Series Title: Submissive Beth Mysteries
Author: Fia Black
Date Added: February 2, 2017
Date Started: February 8, 2017
Date Finished: February 20, 2017
Reading Duration: 12 days

I was more than satisfied with the ending of this book, and I’m glad to see the author isn’t becoming stagnant with her story lines.  I hope she plans to continue this series, because I have ever intention to keep reading.  I’ll have a review for it up by this weekend.


Books Purchased This Week: 2

Title: Hollow City
Series Title: Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Date Added: September 25, 2016
Date Purchased: February 18, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $8.79
Retailer: Target

Title: Cinder
Series Title: The Lunar Chronicles
Author: Marissa Meyer
Date Added: January 16, 2016
Date Purchased: February 18, 2017

Media: Paperback
Price: $7.99
Retailer: Target

This is why I shouldn’t be allowed in a Target without supervision.  I’ve already talked about why I’m interested in Hollow City here, but since I added Cinder before I started doing my weekly SOTR posts, I’ve never actually talked about why it found its why on my TBR list in the first place.  It’s a retelling of Cinderella where the titular character is a cyborg mechanic, reviled by her stepmother (just like the other fairy tale princess) in addition to being a second class citizen.  The story is more complicated by sinister lunar observers waiting to make their move on our planet (Lunarians anyone?), and I’m sure our intrepid, mechanical heroine will have a major role to play in thwarting this.


Books Received This Week: 2

fullsizerender-2I’m still figuring this purchased/received thing out.  Since I purchased these two last week, I put them in last update’s Purchased section, but since they were bought online, I didn’t receive them until this week.  Whereas I bought the two books purchased above from Target yesterday, but I didn’t take a picture of them *organizational issue meltdown*

I think what I’m going to do going forward is to note down the day I purchased something, but I won’t include it in my SOTR until I have the volume in my hot, little hand.  Maybe I’ll rename the section Books Purchased and Received This Week.  Yes.  Yes, I like this very much.  I will perfect my organization mwa ha ha ha.

Anyway, I definitely wanted to show a picture of Riddled With Senses since it’s by someone I know!  Fellow blogger and writer Inkbiotic who has been providing excerpts to her story on her blog (the latest one being here), and from what I’ve read, it’s going to be phenomenal.  I love the taste of the language and am already a big fan of magical realism.  It’ll be the next book in my fantasy, sci-fi, general fiction rotation once I complete Prospero Lost. 

The Dark Portal just arrived today and was recommended to me through Goodreads due to my love of RedwallIt has a section that introduces all of the characters.  I’m really hoping it’s not a “all mice are good/all rats are evil” motif, because Redwall does enough of that.

Update:  *sigh* It does seem to be an “all mice are good/all rats are evil” motif.  Oh well.


Books Currently Reading: 6

Title: The Clockwork Scarab
Series Title: Stoker and Holmes
Author: Colleen Gleason
Date Added: August 1, 2016
Date Started: February 21, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 4%

Since I finished The Missing Orchid, that meant a new Kindle book needed to be picked (FYI: I really need to load more books onto my Kindle).  I initially started reading Dolor and Shadow, but it really didn’t hold my attention.  I’m not going to scrap it from my TBR list just yet, but this retelling/re-gendering of Sherlock Holmes and Bram Stoker seems like it will be a fun read.

So far the two young ladies have met up with Irene Adler (the woman) and are about to be given what I’m assuming is the novel’s main mystery/plot point.  So far it’s been written from Holmes’s point of view, and I like her voice.  It has a crisp, fresh feel to it.  I’m curious to see where it all goes.

Title: Prospero Lost
Series Title: Prospero’s Daughter
Author: L. Jagi Lamplighter
Date Added: June 19, 2016
Date Started: February 11, 2017

Media: Hardback
Progress: 18%

This book is interesting and fun.  I have a few minor issues with it.  It introduces a lot of ideas at once, and it’s hard to keep them straight, but the characters of Miranda and Mab are a nice “odd couple” (though they’re not an OC by any means), and the author is excellent at leaving cliffhangers at the end of each chapter.

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: 31%

I finished the chapter on the color of black holes and am now on the one about the origin and fate of the universe.  To be honest, the black hole chapters weren’t all that interesting, but I think I’ll really enjoy the origin chapter.

It seems appropriate that I’m reading this volume at a time when NASA just discovered seven earth sized exoplanets orbiting a dwarf star 40 light years away.  At least one of the planets could be in the “sweet spot” for liquid water, which means it could support life.  It’s pretty freaking exciting.  I suppose seven is a lucky number 😉

Well…it didn’t take my troll brain too long to go off on a horror/horrifying tangent, and now I’m terrified, but it’s still exciting.

Title: The Dream Thieves
Series Title: The Raven Cycle
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Date Added: January 23, 2017
Date Started: January 26, 2017

Media: Kindle
Progress: 62%

Ms. Stiefvater is doing an excellent job fleshing out the character of Ronan, who took more of a backseat to Gansey in the first novel, but she’s not doing very much to help me decide how I feel about him.  This is a good thing, because I love complex characters.  Ronan does things that are utterly reckless and pointedly stupid, and reasons are not excuses.  I know more about him and his situation than ever before in The Raven Boys, and I’m hoping the more we find out, the more sense some of his terrible choices are going to make.

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

Medium: Paperback
Progress: 66%

I have to say the characters in this final branch are my least favorite of them all.  They swindled a character who was featured in a prior branch out of his swine and are now acting utterly entitled to them by virtue of thievery.  It’s not so much Gwydion and his brother GIlvaethwhy, but rather Gwidion’s men.  Granted Gwidion did initiate the trick, so he must’ve felt justified in doing it.  I’m hoping there’s some grand, godly design to this plan, otherwise the Old Tribes are going to seem like complete asses in this section.

Title: “Beta Reading”
Author: High School Friend/Fellow Author
Date Added: N/A
Date Started: February 14, 2017
Media: PDF/Kindle
Progress: 50%

As mentioned before I can’t say much about this story, but I will say it’s great.  There are a lot of complex issues and emotions going on, and my writer friend is dealing with them so well.  Since we’ve been friends since high school, I know a bit about some of his personal beliefs, and he’s not handling them shallowly in this story.  The “bad guy” is sympathetic (surprise, I like that!) even though he’s a total douche, and this goes back to reasons for horrendous behavior not being excuses.  I feel bad for him, but not so bad I wouldn’t run him over with my SUV.


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

You know an author is doing a great job when you want to smack all three of the characters in the love triangle.  Holy lord.  This really speaks to the philosophy of the outside point of view.  When your own emotions aren’t on the line, it’s far easier to be objective.

Fanfictions Added to TBR List: 0


Books Added to Goodreads TBR List This Week: 3

Title: Raising Stony Mayhall
Author: Daryl Gregory
Date Added: February 18, 2017

When I saw Cupcakes and Machetes’ review of this I knew that name sounded familiar, the author, not the title.  I’ve read AND reviewed Mr. Gregory before.  One of my first reviews actually: The Devil’s Alphabet.  It was a novel of great potential that missed the shift to a higher gear.  It seems that Gregory is a sort of a hit or miss novelist, and according to C and M, Stony is more of a hit.  We started talking about it in her review of another book We Are All Complety Fine found here.

Stony is a different take on zombies, and since I’ve already added a few books from Cupcakes and Machetes about the same thing, I figured why break up a good streak?  Granted I haven’t read them yet, but it’s the potential that counts.

Title: The Children of Húrin
Series Title: Middle-Earth Universe
Authors: J. R. R. Tolkien & Christopher Tolkien
Date Added: February 22, 2017

I remember finding this book in a Target years ago, but I didn’t buy it for whatever reason (I was probably trying to save money lol what the hell was I thinking?).  I forgot about it until I saw it in my Goodreads newsfeed.  It’s one of the many unreleased Tolkien books that the master of fantasy never revealed before he died.  I think there was some controversy with Peter Jackson wanting to use some of this content for the movies, and the original Tolkien’s son Christopher putting a stop to it, but the younger Tolkien did edit and release a bunch of works, The Children of Húrin being one of them.  Per the blurb, it sounds like it borrows from The Kalevala (shit…I need to add that, too), and since I’m a lover of ancient tales and mythology, I’m cautiously optimistic about this book.

Title: The Kalevala
Authors: Elias Lönnrot & Anonymous,
Translator: Keith Bosley
Date Added: February 22, 2017

I read snippets of stories from this when I was a child.  We had a Mythology Childcraft book (I loved those books.  Would love to find a set of them again), and in it was a story about the Sampo, which was a huge, magical MacGuffin in the Finnish tales.


Total Books on Goodreads TBR List: 551
Change from Last Week: -3

I did some clean up on my list this week.  I try to keep only the next book in a series on my list, and I had all of the Jeff Lindsey Dexters still on it.  Not that I didn’t love the first book (or the first seven seasons up until the disastrous last one that still could’ve been saved if they hadn’t utterly fucked up the finale grrrrr), but I figure it’s easier to just add them one at a time.


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: 2/15/17          The State of the Reader: 3/1/17–>

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