CiSu’s 2014 Reading List Progress

With September here (an absolutely terrifying thought), I figured I’d go back and take a look at my TBR list and see exactly how well I did, and if I’m going to make my goal of 12 books this year.

Since I plan to continue writing throughout the year, I’m only going to give myself one book to read a month. If I manage to read more than that, bonus to me, but in the meantime, I’m aiming to read at least twelve. Now, that doesn’t mean that I’ve limited myself to twelve books, because that would just be ludicrous.

1.  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis

2.  Through the Zombie Glass – Gena Showalter

3.  MaddAddam – Margaret Atwood (Re-Read: Oryx and Crake & The Year of the Flood)

4.  The Girl with the Iron Touch – Kady Cross

5.  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

6.  Inkspell – Cornelia Funke

7.  Inkdeath – Cornelia Funke

8.  Graceling – Kristin Cashore (Recommended by: C.Miller)

9.  Insomnia – Stephen King (Recommended by: C.Miller)

10.  Dreamcatcher – Stephen King (Recommended by: C.Miller)

11.  Reave – C. Miller

12.  Dracula – Bram Stoker

13.  Remember Me – Christopher Pike (Recommended by: Jill)

14.  The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones – Cassandra Clare (Recommended by: Jill)

15.  Carrie – Stephen King (Recommended by: Jill)

16.  Ship of Theseus – J.J Abrams and Doug Dorst (Recommended by: Jill)

17.  Soulbinder – Jillian Watts

18.  The Princess Bride – William Goldman

19.  Coraline – Neil Gaiman

20.  Hounded – Kevin Hearne

21.  I am Number Four – Pittacus Lore

22.  Bloodlines – Richelle Mead

23.  The Hunger Games: Book 1 – Suzanne Collins

24.  Divergent – Veronica Roth

25.  Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

26.  The Lost Hero – Rick Riordan

27.  The Red Tree – Caitlin R. Kiernan

28.  The Shining – Steven King

29.  Salem’s Lot – Stephen King

30.  The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaimen


First of all, whoot for reading 12 books! Hooray I met my goal! (It’s the little things in life) Also, I know I’ve read more that aren’t on this list, which makes me even happier. 

I’ll go into a more in depth look at the end of the year but for now I want to give special mentions to the following books (links will open to amazon where you can purchase them):

Reave – C. Miller

Hounded – Kevin Hearne

Soulbinder by Jililan Watts would also be on the list, yet it’s not yet available – yay for getting an advanced copy XD


Anyway, I highly recommend both Reave and Hounded if you’re looking for a great book/ start of series. 

I wrote a short story!

Okay, so I wrote a first draft of a short story, but the point is, I wrote a story from start to finish and that makes me extremely happy. I’m also rather pleased with how it turned out, which is something unexpected. This pleasant feeling comes one week after writing it, not looking at it, then re-reading it and editing. In the end, I was still happy with what I had written and hadn’t torn it completely to pieces, which is something that I wasn’t expecting. Normally I go back and hate what I wrote, find that there are so many problems and missed words (sometimes entire sentences), but not this time. This time I actually managed to get something coherent out.

I suppose I should note that it’s only 1700 words, and took all of like 2 hours to write, but still, it meant a lot that I finished it (let alone that I decidedly took the time to sit and write it). I’m doing this for the Canada Writes short story contest, which sadly caps at 1500 words. I expect that this part will consist of the much more difficult process of editing and cutting. How I’m going to cut 200 words, I have no idea, but it will be an adventure for sure.

That’s all for now. Happy writing everyone :)

Reave: C. Miller

Novel Information (Taken from GoodReads)

Country: United States

Language: English

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Publication Date: December 4, 2013

Pages: 308

Narration: First Person


CiSu’s Review

Reave is a story about a young woman who has been a servant for most of her life, living on an estate where the Leader of the house only lives for a short period of time. Any time a servant speaks out, or does something wrong they are severely punished. Aster is no exception having more than her share of beating and whippings throughout her life. However, all this changes when the new Leader arrives and challenges Asters perspective on the world, and herself.

Although lacking in action, the journey that Aster takes trying to understand herself and the new Leader, all while pushing boundaries with the Reaper makes this book a page turner. I wanted to know more and more about the motives behind the new Leader, who the mysterious Reaper was, and when Aster would finally learn what everything meant, and what decision she would make in the end.

Her character was interesting, because although Aster could read the malevolence in people, or pick up on certain mannerisms, her sheltered life kept her from noticing other mannerisms, that I, as a reader, picked up on right away. Aster questions kindness and flirtations and at some points I just laughed at her naivety, while feeling absolute pity for the man vying for her affection.

Her characters are well fleshed out, and the relationships are real and deep where they should be, and shallow and new where they needed to be. Another refreshing change with C. Miller’s characters was the unique yet normal names. Although Aster is more unique than normal, there were no names that had me pondering how to say them; which in a world where Apple is an actual name, was quite the refreshing change of pace. Not to mention the normal spellings.

Overall this book pulled me into the story, had me captivated by the world, and invested in the characters and their lives. I would move this book to the top of your TBR pile and in the meantime I’m going to order my copy of Elude, the second book in the Reave series.

Death is but a Dream: Erin Hayes

Novel Information (Taken from GoodReads)

Country: United States

Language: English

Genre: Young Adult

Publication Date: September 29, 2013

Pages: 308

Narration: First Person


CiSu’s Review

This book was one that I really wanted to enjoy. That sentence says a lot doesn’t it? Okay, let’s try to break this down starting with the premise of the story; which in itself wasn’t bad.

Callista Saunders is a homicide detective who was promoted after only 2 years after graduating. On one of her days off she sees a bus about to hit a little girl and takes her place instead – something that wasn’t supposed to happen. In the afterlife she learns that she’s not quite dead, but instead she’s in a coma. Hades, lord of the underworld offers her a deal. If she protects his son and finds out who is trying to kill him, he’ll return her to her comatose body and she’ll no longer be in the underworld.

So, Callista starts off her investigation and meets the people she’ll be working closest with. Namely Tisiphone (a fury), and Plutus (Hades’ son and the God of Wealth).

Alright, so there’s the story and the overall plot. Sounds decent right? That’s what I thought, only it wasn’t executed as well as it could have been. I was hoping, really hoping, that it would be better. Plutus’ character was fine, I had no problems with him, but that was about it. All the other characters weren’t solidified enough for me to connect with. Callista in particular was especially frustrating and annoying. For someone who was supposed to be great at her job, she had a lot of problems finding answers, and didn’t seem to know where to go or where to look. Additionally, she has a temper that flares up and dies down at strange and irregular moments. Someone who is supposed to be a cop should have a much better handle on her anger. It felt like I was reading a story about a 14 year-old girl trapped in an adult body. Further to that, for the moments where her police skill was lacking, she came up with excuses. Reasons why she hadn’t thought to do it before, or was too busy to look into it at the time. None of them were believable and I think that the author’s lack of knowledge of the police force really hindered Callista’s credibility.

The plot moved at a good pace, and things didn’t seem to come too easy for Callista until near the end. As a reader, I was ready for the book to end when she finally confronted the villain and protected Plutus at the same time. That would have been perfect. However, Erin Hayes decided that instead of having the villain defeated, she simply injures him so that our two heroes now find themselves in the mortal realm trying to escape him yet again. Here is where the story just became utterly unbelievable – and that’s saying something for a book about the Underworld and Greek Gods.

Callista’s and Plutus’ faces are shown on the news but whenever they enter a store the clerk is too distracted to actually notice them and what they look like, how fortunate! Sure, Erin Hayes comes up with a reason as to why they are having so much luck, but there is luck and there is … well… this.

The ending wasn’t surprising, I wasn’t blown away, and although I wasn’t angry at having paid for this book, I wasn’t thrilled with it either. I was just left with a feeling of disappointment for a book that could have been so much better.

NaNoWriMo ML for 2014?

Yup, that’s right, I decided to apply to be the regional Municipal Liaison (ML) for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) for 2014.

I have to admit, I started out feeling confident, at least until I got to the part about saying why I was the best candidate and what I was going to do to improve NaNo in my region. I hate talking about myself and promoting myself (which, if I ever become an author is going to be one of my main challenges), so sitting there and trying to answer those questions started giving me a minor panic attack.

I mean, who am I? I participated in my first ever NaNo just last year. Yes I won (and that was really the only qualification I needed – apart from being over 18 years of age), but does participating one year and winning really make me the best candidate? I didn’t think so, and thus I decided to obtain support from my friend and co-NaNo winner Jill, and coerced her to co-ML with me. Okay, there really wasn’t a lot I had to say other than, “Hey do you want to do this with me because… HALP!”

She’s super awesome and just knowing that I’ll have someone to help share my anxieties with, is a huge stress-reliever. We filled out the forms the following day (to which she noted that she felt like she was in a beauty pageant while trying to answer how she would improve NaNo in the region) and once I clicked submit, I felt better. That was it. My decision was made, no turning back now.

Now, just because we applied doesn’t mean that we’ll become the MLs, but seeing as there wasn’t one last year, and we were two of the three people who came out for the write-ins, I’m feeling fairly optimistic. In fact, I was (and still am) feeling optimistic enough to book a space for the write-ins, and start looking at ways to promote NaNo this year, and what DIY projects I could make to handout and give to our fellow NaNo writers.


Yup, I think this has been a rewarding experience, and if I don’t get the position… well, no one can stop me from giving out things for free!

Carrie: Stephen King

Novel Information (Taken from Wikipedia)

Country: United States

Language: English

Genre: Horror, Epistolary, Tragedy

Publication Date: April 5, 1974

Pages: 199

Narration: Third Person


CiSu’s Review

Carrie is about a young teen girl who lives with an over religious and abusive mother, deals with verbal assaults at high school, and alongside her normal teenage changes, she is also developing her telekinetic ability.

I enjoyed the story of Carrie, and my stomach actually turned while her mother punished her. I found a significant amount of empathy for Carrie the more I read, and in the end, I felt her actions justified and was rooting for her while she wandered around town.

What ruined the book for me was the intermittent sections concerning present day and the look back on the events that took place during Carrie’s final high school year. There are interviews with people who knew her as a young girl and as a teenager, as well as people who survived the White Incident. There are excerpts from books and comments from educated specialists on the events and how it should be looked at for any future occurrences.

These intermittent sections were, for the most part, interesting. However, whenever they appeared they interrupted the story and pulled me away from getting more attached. Perhaps an intended effect to keep the reader distant, but for me, it really stopped the flow of the story and that was my turn off.

Salem’s Lot: Stephen King

Novel Information (Taken from Wikipedia)

Country: United States

Language: English

Genre: Gothic Fiction

Publication Date: October 17, 1975

Pages: 439

Narration: Third Person


CiSu’s Review

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where there is more emphasis on the reaction of the horror, than the detailing of the horror itself. It’s also been a long time since I read anything about vampires where they are demons and not something that has an attachment to the earth and wants to protect humanity. They have a desire to drink and will do anything to get it.

Salem’s Lot was refreshing because, as mentioned above, it focused on the reaction of the danger. Stephen King wrote from the perspective of the citizens (sometimes there were too many and it seemed to stretch on for far longer than necessary), and once something bad happened to them, he stopped writing from their perspective. They were gone, not technically dead, but dead in a way that emphasized that they were no longer human and didn’t, or couldn’t posses the ability to think, to feel.

Feeling is a key component in this book. Many of the citizens, and especially Ben, our protagonist, can feel that there is something wrong, something bad. Many of the citizens express this feeling, even when they don’t know what that feeling is, and when they do know, it only makes it worse.

While reading, I could feel the characters anxiety, fear, and courage. Could emphasize when they couldn’t believe that something that had only existed in the fantasy world of books was brought into reality. I found the situations to be believable and for the most part an accurate account of how people would react if the situation ever came around.

There were a few things that bothered me about it, one of which were the extra chapters from the various characters. Although I can see and understand why they were there, I felt that it was a little much. Especially when grouped together and I was trying to remember if I actually knew that character from earlier, or if they were just another citizen in the town.
Another was the ending. In a 400+ page book, I thought that the ending was weak and just went by too fast. I would have certainly liked to be given more description and detail about the after effects then what I was provided.
Finally, the group splitting. That bothered me to no end. Especially when they are warned time and time again.