Status Update 5-29-20

Today I completed reading Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, and I admit to being very emotionally drained by the experience. I’m going to take a few days off from reading before I jump into Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia. The Pages Read total for the year is 4730 (39% of goal). As I mentioned previously, I had fallen a bit behind goal, but completing Assassin’s Fate by the end of May has put me back in a good spot.

I’m still working on a post for the 2019 Hippogriff Awards, and my review for The Gutter Prayer is almost finished.

Status Update 5-2-20

Time for reading, much less writing reviews, is in short supply for me right now. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, my company was not only deemed essential, we also had to ramp production, as several of the parts we make go into medical equipment like respirators and ventilators. I’m working from home as much as I can,  but with a slow internet connection thanks to my rural location, it takes so much longer to maintain, much less exceed, my previous productivity. Which means longer hours spent working. Add a not-so-fun water leak in the house that required tearing walls open, and it’s very frustrating. Still, I can’t imagine how much worse it must be for those who have lost jobs or loved ones…to those who have, I’m truly sorry for your loss.

Today I finally completed reading For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones. The Pages Read total for the year is 3883 (32% of goal). Next up is the last book in The Fitz and the Fool Trilogy, Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb. I’ve fallen a bit behind goal, but if I can complete Assassin’s Fate by the end of May, I’ll be back on track.

I’ll start working on a post for the 2019 Hippogriff Awards soon. I’ve been working sporadically on a review for The Gutter Prayer, so hopefully I can wrap that up by next weekend.

Status Update 4-5-20

Today I (finally) completed reading Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson. The Pages Read total for the year is 3531 (29% of goal). Next up is the first book in The Ring-Sworn Trilogy, For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones.

I’m continuing to hold off on posting the 2019 Hippogriff Awards until after I read For the Killing of Kings. I’ve also started working on a review for The Gutter Prayer.

Status Update 3-30-20

It’s been awhile since I posted, so I thought I’d just do a quick post to let those who follow this blog know that I’m still alive and well. These past few weeks have been nerve-wracking and dramatic and I feel like April’s going to be worse. Washington State, and mainly the Seattle area, was the initial epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, although New York has since become the hardest hit. I’m only 3 hours away from Seattle, and for awhile it seemed like my county might get lucky despite the proximity to the Puget Sound area; however, cases are now accelerating in my locality.

I’ve been working from home as much as possible, with once-a-week trips to the office. Working from home brings its own challenges, from pet distractions to lagging internet over VPN. I’m fairly well-stocked when it comes to food and supplies – too many episodes of watching the Walking Dead have been embedded into my subconscious – but occasionally I have to go out to re-purchase goods that don’t last forever such as milk and eggs. I live in a rural area so social distancing is easy for me, except for the aforementioned trips to work. Despite a state-wide stay-at-home order, my company is deemed essential, since some of our products go into medical equipment such as ventilators, as well as telecommunications and defense.

I’m not so much worried about myself – I’m generally pretty healthy, although there are no guarantees with this virus – I’m more worried about my retired roommate, who is asthmatic, and his 85 year old father, who also lives on the property. They are able to stay at home, but my greatest fear is contracting the virus at work or at a supermarket and bringing it home. An infection for them is likely a death sentence.

So right now it’s tough to be able to focus on the blog and reviews, although that’s what people who are stuck at home need at this moment. I’ll see what I can do. I am able to snatch some brief reading moments here and there, though Reaper’s Gale is more challenging than I thought it would be and I’m only 60% through it after a month of reading. It’s starting to sink my reading goal for the year, but that seems inconsequential during these difficult times. The pace is picking up a bit, so hopefully I’ll finish it in the next couple of weeks.

Enough about COVID-19. I’ll keep working on reviews and reading whenever I get the chance. Take care, everyone!

Status Update 3-2-20

Yesterday I completed reading The Iron Circlet by Phil Tucker. The Pages Read total for the year is 2529 (21% of goal). Next up is the seventh book in the Malazan the Fallen series, Reaper’s Gale by Steven Erikson.

I’m holding off on the 2019 Hippogriff Awards until after I read For the Killing of Kings by Howard Andrew Jones, which will probably be after Reaper’s Gale. And soon I’ll start working on a review for Ravine of Blood and Shadow.

Status Update 2-24-20

Yesterday I completed reading The Light Of All That Falls by James Islington. The Pages Read total for the year is 2096 (17.5% of goal). Next up is the fourth book in the Chronicles of the Black Gate series, The Iron Circlet by Phil Tucker.

I thought I’d be caught up with reviews by now but a loss in staff at my day job has resulted in time spent conducting interviews and putting in close to 50 hours a week…it’s all I can do to find time to read, much less write and post reviews. Fortunately the 2019 Hippogriff Awards are nearly complete, so you should see those in the next couple of days. I’ve started working on a review for The Hod King, and I’ve sent some interview questions to Gareth Hanrahan, with some headed D.P. Prior’s way soon…

Status Update 1-24-20

Yesterday I completed reading The Shadow King by Alec Hutson. The Pages Read total for the year is 1282 (11% of goal). Next up is the third book in Licanius trilogy, The Light of All That Falls by James Islington, and then I will offer up the 2019 Hippogriff Awards. I’m still working on a review for The True Bastards, and at the same time I’m formulating some interview questions for Gareth Hanrahan and D.P. Prior. Busy busy busy!

Status Update 1-12-20

I have just completed reading The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan. The Pages Read total for the year is 753 (6% of goal). Next up is The Shadow King by Alec Hutson, the third book in The Raveling series. After that will be The Light of All That Falls by James Islington, and then I will offer up the 2019 Hippogriff Awards. In the next day or two I’ll start working on a review for The True Bastards.

Status Update 1-1-20

My first post of 2020 lands on New Year’s Day, so I’d like to wish all my readers a Happy New Year!

I’ve changed the reading goal to 12,000 pages for 2020, and as a result I have updated the reading goal progress in the left sidebar.

I have completed reading my first book of the year, Ravine of Blood and Shadow by D.P. Pryor. The Pages Read total for the year is 235 (2% of goal). Next up is The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan, the first book in The Black Iron Legacy.

Status Update 12-30-19

Well, here it is, most likely the last post of the year. I just completed The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft. The Pages Read total is 11,407 and that’s probably where I’ll finish with only today and tomorrow left. While that isn’t nearly as much as last year, my average page count per book was 100 pages higher at 543. That means I tackled some real doorstoppers, which of course are a more challenging read, and I didn’t take on any classic reviews, which in retrospect I should have at least managed a few. Also I wanted to close the gap in reviews, as I was falling pretty far behind, so I focused on getting more of those done in December at the expense of some reading time. I only completed 1 review in November, and when December started I was 6 reviews behind. I’ve closed that number to 4, and hope to be fully caught up by the end of February.

For 2020 I’m going to drop the reading goal back down to 12,000. It seems more realistic (I would have been very close this year, 95%) and anything over 12k will be a good feeling.

Next up is D. P. Prior’s Ravine of Blood and Shadow. I’ll also be working on some posts for The Hippogriff Awards.

 

Status Update 12-15-19 and New Orders

The first bit of news is that I am able to use WordPress at home again. I solved this by simply logging off of WordPress and logging back in. Everything works now. Quick take: I’m quite often not the sharpest sword in smithy when it comes to simple solutions. But hey, at least I (finally) solved the problem myself.

Last night I completed The True Bastards by Jonathan French, the sequel to The Grey Bastards. The Pages Read count for the year is now 10783. I had to make a correction to this number because I had the page count for the Amra Thetys Omnibus incorrect on the spreadsheet I am using to track my progress and I didn’t realize it until I started posting the reviews of each story. This has happened before when I used Amazon’s page count initially as a placeholder – their page count numbers are occasionally inaccurate, so if I don’t go back and update my spreadsheet once the I have the book in hand, my numbers will be off.

Up next: I’ve started The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft, the third book in the Books of Babel series.

And finally, with the TBR pile starting to look a little thin (other than a boatload of Malazan novels), I placed a couple of orders after browsing through Amazon last night:

 

son of black sword

I’m really intrigued by Son of the Black Sword…though a sentient black sword is not an original idea, the oriental influence, along with questions of morality vs. religion vs. law sound intriguing, and the combat sequences are said to be top notch. The sequel was released earlier this year so I’ll be picking up that too, assuming I connect with this book.

 

ravine blood shadow

I’m surprised I had not run across this until now. Ravine of Blood and Shadow is the first book in the Annals of the Nameless Dwarf series. According to a September 4, 2018 post on D. P. Pryor’s blog on his website:

It’s been nine years since I wrote the first Nameless Dwarf story, a short story called The Ant-Man of Malfen. Ant-Man was accepted for publication in volume five of Pulp Empire, and from then on in I began to receive emails asking for more.

The first five Nameless Dwarf novellas I subsequently wrote were published together in an omnibus edition, Chronicles of the Nameless Dwarf in 2012 and went on to become an international bestseller as an indie publication.

I followed up the novellas with a full-length novel, Return of the Dwarf Lords…

I decided to take the opportunity to give the series a much needed revision. There had been a mad rush to meet deadlines when I wrote books one and two, and I was never fully satisfied with the cohesion of the narrative as a whole. And so I started to re-read and make small changes, then the small changes became large ones, and before I knew it I was neck-deep in a total re-write. Scenes were axed (characters too); scenes were added. Big words were ditched in favor of simpler ones. Names were changed, again to make them easier for the reader. Whole passages of prose were trimmed, and many thousands of words were cut.

The result: a much faster, more succinct, and focused read. It’s not only improved the series, but in essence it has created something new.

The structure has also been altered: there are currently six novels now, varying in length between 75,000 and 90,000 words. I have already started writing book 7. Book 8 is planned, and book 9 is already written but requires some substantial revision.

 

Prior released the initial re-written book, Ravine of Blood and Shadow, in January of 2019. And currently, the first 6 books have been re-written and released, all with hard cover editions available, with books 7-9 coming in 2020. As a lover of the hard cover format, this naturally caught my attention. When I read Prior’s latest blog post where he indicated that signed hard covers were available directly through him, after a few email exchanges and a payment sent, a signed hard cover of Ravine of Blood and Shadow on its way to me, possibly arriving before Christmas. This seemed like a no-brainer, especially since it places the money directly into Prior’s pocket. As a result, I’ll be reading and reviewing this one almost as soon as it arrives. The small page count means it would be the shortest book I’ve read this year, but also means I can finish it quickly and order the remaining books if the first one resonates with me.

Status Update 12-10-19 and a New Arrival

Today I completed The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan, the fourth book in the Riyria Chronicles. The Pages Read count for the year is now 10066.

Up next: I’ve started The True Bastards by Jonathon French, the sequel to The Grey Bastards.

And finally, a new arrival that showed up yesterday that I was very happy to see:

light all that falls

I’m just disappointed that I won’t have time to read it before the end of the year…

Status Update 12-2-19

Last week I completed City of Light, the third and final book in the Traveler’s Gate series. I really struggled with this one and took me almost the entire month of November to get through it. The Pages Read count for the year is now 9622. While it’s looking highly unlikely that I’m going to meet my reading goal, I think I’ll be making a serious run at it while I am out for a couple of weeks for surgery and will be laying in bed with nothing to do but read.

I’m continuing to have trouble with WordPress on my home PC: I open up my site only to find a blank screen. It’s making updating the site and writing reviews impossible. So starting next week I may not be able to post anything until January. I’ve got an email into WordPress to see if they can help me figure out what’s wrong.

Up next: I’ve started The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan, the fourth book in the Riyria Chronicles. I haven’t seen Kickstarter from Mr. Sullivan for another Riyria Chronicles book (he’s been busy writing his First Empire series), so it’s possible I’ll get to the original Riyria Revelations series sometime in 2020…

Status Update 10-24-19

Today I completed Paternus: Wrath of Gods, the second book in Paternus series. The Pages Read count for the year is now 9236. It’s looking highly unlikely that I’m going to meet my reading goal, but that’s okay, the next two books will take me over 10,000 pages read for the year which is still a lot. And I have some time off coming up so who knows what will happen between now and the end of the year…

I am still working on a review of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance, but I’m having trouble with WordPress on my home PC, which has relegated my posts to the few breaks I get at work (in other words: very little time). Up next: City of Light by Will Wight, the third and final book in the Traveler’s Gate series.

Status Update 9-24-19

Today I completed The Labyrinth of Flame, the third and final book in The Shattered Sigil series. The Pages Read count for the year is now 8725 . It’s been a tough couple of months for reading due to great outdoor weather, but the weather is now turning wetter and colder, which usually leads to more reading. I am currently working on a review of Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance. Up next: Paternus: Wrath of Gods, the sequel to Dyrk Ashton’s Paternus

Status Update 8-23-19

Yesterday I completed Emperor Of Thorns, the third and final book in The Broken Empire series. The Pages Read count for the year is now 8208 . I still have not yet started the review of Cameron Johnston’s God of Broken Things and can’t see it being done until next week. Up next: The Labyrinth Of Flame, the third and final book in Courtney Schafer’s The Shattered Sigil series…

Status Update 8-7-19

Yesterday I completed the third part of Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys Omnibus 1. Part 3 contains the book The Thief Who Knocked On Sorrow’s Gate. The Pages Read Count for the year is now 7912. Next up will be Mark Lawrence’s Emperor Of Thorns, the final book in The Broken Empire series. I have not yet started the review of Cameron Johnston’s God of Broken Things and it will most likely be about another week before completion…

Status Update 7-31-19

Today I completed the second part of Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys Omnibus 1. Part 2 contains the book The Thief Who Spat In Luck’s Good EyeI’m now moving on to Part 3, The Thief Who Knocked On Sorrow’s Gate. The Pages Read Count for the year is now 7774. I’m working on the review for Fool’s Quest, but it is still a couple of days away from being completed…

Status Update 7-25-19

Yesterday I completed the first part of Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys Omnibus 1. Part 1 contains the book The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids. I’m now moving on to Part 2, The Thief Who Spat In Luck’s Good Eye. The Pages Read Count for the year is now 7644. Hopefully I’ll get started on a review for Fool’s Quest this weekend, but it probably won’t be finished until next week…

Status Update 7-18-19

Yesterday I completed Brandon Sanderson’s Words of Radiance thanks to a little bout with a nasty summer cold that forced me to do nothing but lay in bed and read for a couple of days. The Pages Read Count for the year is now 7516, right at 50% of my goal of 15,000. I’ll be reading Michael McClung’s Amra Thetys Omnibus 1, which contains 3 separate books: The Thief Who Pulled on Trouble’s Braids, The Thief Who Spat In Luck’s Good Eye, and The Thief Who Knocked On Sorrow’s Gate. I will probably review each book as I complete it within the omnibus for a total of 3 reviews, rather than write 1 review for the entire omnibus.