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–>










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