Monthly Challenge: To-Be-Read “House of Leaves” Completed!

I finished it! One of the LARGEST books in my to-be-read pile, and I finally finished it! I swear, it has taken at least three years for me to get through this book, and I’m so happy to say that I did it.

House of Leaves was actually a gift to a friend of mine and I oh-so shamelessly borrowed it for the past couple years. I’m a friend of a different kind, clearly 😉

I hope you guys were able to finish a book in your TBR pile- it’s so satisfying when you can cross something off your list. Go ahead and read on if you want a review of the book! It is a very abstract kind of a book, so a lot of people don’t think it’s worth reading in a sort of conventional way. The premise is easy to lose when most critics talk about the stylistic choices Danielewski used and the point of the novel… but I’ll attempt to give my own impression that explains the story and its appeal.

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Title: House of Leaves

Author: Mark Danielewski

Length: REALLY long… 600+ pages

Synopsis: Johnny Truant is a tattoo parlor employee living on his own when he stumbles upon a written documentation called The Navidson Report. This report is volumes long, filled to the brim with footnotes and references from the previous reader, a Mr. Zampano, the former tenant of his ramshackle apartment. Truant’s self-awareness and grip on reality is shaken as he discovers the long-lost story about a house within the report’s pages. As the lives of the house’s owners fall apart, so does his, and the readers are taken along as both stories play out.

Like a mirror to the logic-destroying house, Truant narrates the crumbling of his mind in conjunction with the discovery of what the house really is. Said to be nightmare inducing, Danielewski sets out to make the reader question their own sanity as they learn the hidden secrets of the House of Leaves.

Impression: So, right off the bat, this story is stylistically written unlike any other. There are pages that mimic the narrator losing his mind and also represent the alien-like nature of the house. The house is like an MC Escher painting, actually.


It has a basic façade, but the foundation is built on an enormous underground cavern/room/hall that has no lights and no conceivable doorways but for the giant stairwell that leads seemingly to the center of hell. The Navidson Report, the story that takes up most of the pages in this book, is about the Navidson family who moves into this house. The patriarch, Will Navidson, leads a group of his friends and fellow documentarians into the center of the house to discover where the stairwell leads. His life partner, a model named Karen Green, and his children stay in the house and receive the crackling radio reports as Will travels miles and miles into the Earth to discover the truth about his house.

Johnny Truant happens upon this record when he moves into a new apartment, and as he reads it, he slowly loses his mind. He already started as a sort of unreliable narrator, and his tales increase in skepticism as he tells crazier and crazier stories… and his (lack of) mental stability is supported by other documents that Danielewski thought would be interesting to the reader, like letters from Truant’s mom in a mental hospital… it runs in the family, apparently.

 What I felt when I read the book wasn’t overt fear. Danielewski has never claimed that the story is a ghost story or haunted house story or psychological thriller, but many of his fans claim it is. When asked himself, he says it’s more of a love story between Will and Karen. I find this hard to believe, actually, because though the Navidson Report does include information about their rekindling romance, it seems more like a self-discovery for Will and Johnny Truant. They both kind of learn about themselves along the way, even though it isn’t necessarily for the better.

I wasn’t plagued by the nightmares that the book is said to induce, but it did stay with me for a while. It’s creative format really helps with the immersion in such a lengthy and dry story (it’s very technically written) and makes the audience wonder if maybe the Navidson Report is real and the terrifying house could be located just down the street. It’s a super intelligent book with a lot of interwoven stories. I will give it 4 feather pens because it took SUCH a long time (around 80 pages) for me to actual become interested in the story and I really wish there was more of a resolution. I feel like the secrets of the house were never really discovered, even though Will ended up [SPOILERS] happily ever after with his family again… maybe that’s what Danielewski meant when he said it’s a love story. That’s literally the only loose end that is resolved. Since the narrator (Truant) is so unreliable and psychologically unsettled, there really is no resolution to his story. It’s somewhat expected and not a bad choice on Danielewski’s part. With such a terribly unsettled narrator, that seems to be the only way his story could have ended.

It’s possible that the novel itself is a fabrication of Truant’s mind. He regularly tells lies and makes up stories about his past. Seeing how unstable his own mother was at the end makes me wonder if all of it is actually in Truant’s head. The fact that Danielewski created such a compelling story within a story within a story is truly masterful. He did a fantastic job writing in such an unconventional way. However, if you’re looking for a bite-your-nails, pull the blanket over your head, kind of a scary story, I’d say try for something else. If you love psychological novels, though (like The Shining, etc.) this would be great for you. Especially if you want something that is more rooted in reality than something fantastical.

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I hope you guys enjoyed this review and great job with you own monthly challenges! Please let me know if any of you have any stories you’ve wanted to read or see a review of!

I can’t wait to chat with you all again soon!

Live,

Morgan Paige

 

New Self-Published eBooks: March 27- April 2

Happy Easter my lovely friends 🙂

It has been a busy week and the next two weeks will be even more jam-packed. As it is, I’m moving! I honestly cannot wait! Moving is an exhausting process but the end result is going to be so worth it. We’ve gotten a new place, just the boyfriend and I and our little furball, and it’s to a homey apartment complex. I can’t wait because it has a small outdoor patio where I can FINALLY start my own garden and we will have a second bedroom that will double as an office and guestroom. It’ll be so nice to have a place that is our own. BUT that has meant it’s been a little difficult to be on the blog so much. I will try to keep up, I promise, and here is another weekly update on to-be-published ebooks.

I hope you can find something interesting to read in this list, I love supporting self-published and debut authors whenever I can.

 

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Threads that Bind the Tempest by Sarah Sunday available March 27, 2016

Freak (#4 in the Endgame Eternalised series) by Ray Boxall available March 27, 2016

Diary of a Teenage Oracle by Elizabeth A Reeves available March 27, 2016

Destroyer (The Void Wrath Trilogy) by Chris Fox available March 28, 2016

Nephilim by Sammy King available March 29, 2016

First Flight: Vikings in Space by Jaya Doone available March 29, 2016

Shaded to Win by Lynne Ardmore available March 29, 2016

Blood Lust by Jill Cooper available March 29, 2016

Song of Awakening: Melody Smith by DR Roster available March 29, 2016

Alone by Kate L. Mary available March 29, 2016

Beastwalker (#3 in the Pharim War series) by Gama Ray Martinez available March 29, 2016

Sorcerer: Witch’s Woes (#3 in the Power of Air series) by DL Harrison available March 29, 2016

Worth the Wait by Christina Borum available March 30, 2016

Elemental: Steele Stolen (#1, #2) by Cheryll Hastle available March 31, 2016

Dust McAlan and the Heart of the Serpent by CK Burch available March 31, 2016

Master of Time (#3 in the Chronicles of the Half-Emrys series) by Lisa Rector available March 31, 2016

Snow White (#1 in the Curses of the Witch Queen series) by Amanda A Alten available March 31, 2016

Vision in Love by Liz Bower available March 31, 2016

Bloodline Maharlika by Anne Plaza available March 31, 2016

Heaven’s Key (#1 in the Demon Hunter series) by Electra Graham available March 31, 2016

Prophet of Chaos (#2 in the Chaos Theology series) by J Hamlet available March 31, 2016

Tales from P.A.W.S. by Debbie Manber Kupfer available April 1, 2016

Skyjackers: Episode #5 Beaten to the Punch by JC Staudt available April 1, 2016

Season of Ash (#2 in the Equinox Chronicles) by Bronwen Carlyle available April 1, 2016

The Oracle’s Dilemma (#2 in the Oracle Saga series) by Amber Darke available April 1, 2016

Kaschar’s Quartet by David Gowey available April 1, 2016

Paradise Cursed by Chris Rogers available April 1, 2016

Apocalypse Wow 2: Apocalypse Wower by Ben Mariner available April 1, 2016

Fire War II: Treason by TT Michael available April 1, 2016

There’s No Place: Embracing the Beast by Tracey H Kitts available April 1, 2016

The Andromeda Project by Jason Michael Primrose available April 1, 2016

Guilty by Association by EA Copen available April 1, 2016

Resurrection of an Empire: The Magic Within (#2 in the Magic Within series) by Sharon Gibbs available April 1, 2016

A New Light (#5 in the Age of Dawn series) by Everet Martins available April 1, 2016

Home (#3 in the Among the Dead series) by Raven K Asher available April 1, 2016

Mane of Redemption by Aaron Brinker available April 1, 2016

The Unstoppable: Misplaced Journals by Alex Peters available April 1, 2016

The Beauty of the Beast by Roselynn Cannes available April 2, 2016

Dust by Andra Leigh available April 2, 2016

The Horns of Avalon by Sam Sisavath available April 2, 2016

 

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Crown of Sacrifice by Lara S. Chase available March 28, 2016

Blood Spelled by Gayle Parness available March 30, 2016

Hunter’s Moon by Rachel E. Rice available March 30, 2016

Afterburn: Reclaiming the Throne by Nicole MacDonald available March 31, 2016

Burn by LL Hunter available March 31, 2016

Revolve: Escape by Joshua Gotte available March 31, 2016

The Ragnarok Saga: The Rusted Crown by Austin Macauley available March 31, 2016

Mr. 303: Part 1 The Virus by Fox Emerson available March 31, 2016

The Tale II by David Kingsley Evans available March 31, 2016

Masque of the Vampire (#8) by Jokene Naylor available April 1, 2016

The Lost Star by Odette C. Bell available April 1, 2016

Gamma Nine by Christi Smit available April 1, 2016

Newborn by Emma Lowe available April 1, 2016

Giovanni Goes to Med School by Kathy Bryson available April 1, 2016

The Marianated Nottingham and Other Abuses of Language by Charles E. Pearson available April 1, 2016

The Curse of Kereves Dere by Nick Falkner available April 1, 2016

The Defender Chronicles by Robert Collins available April 1, 2016

The Thirsts of Substance and Time by Brian J Bell available April 1, 2016

Wiley Royce Versus the Martians by LM Foster available April 1, 2016

Faery Fire by Raven Williams available April 2, 2016

 

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[Lulu does not publish up-coming information, so I have the last week’s releases listed here!]

The Mutants by FA Ludwig available March 20, 2016

Lady of Illusions by Donald H Sullivan

Extant by Baron Brady available March 20, 2016

The Restorer of Magic by Adeana Terrill available March 21, 2016

Enpidra the Exodus by Drew Washington available March 21, 2016

A Merry Frost by Geraldine Allie available March 22, 2016

The Sly Phantom by Monique Golay available March 22, 2016

Deep World Fire by CM Meridian available March 22, 2016

Damsels in Distress Universe Rules by Ernest Bywater available March 22, 2016

The Redensive Epiphanies of Pouty McNavel by David Gullen available March 22, 2016

The Funny Necromancer by Monique Golay available March 23, 2016

The Devil, the Angel, and the Carpenter’s Son, The Search for Sarah Sinclair (#1, #2 in The Dragon Realm Chronicles) by KJ Foxhall available March 24, 2016

The Furgle and the Frimp by Darren Bane available March 24, 2016

Resurrection by Patrick Alexander available March 25, 2016

Leporder and the Savings of Karen Marie by Samuel Smith available March 25, 2016

Rebuild All Your Ruins by EM Holloway available March 25, 2016

Bound by Sarah Downing available March 25, 2016

The Colar Boys: The Four Prophets by Scott C. Anderson available March 25, 2016

The Song of the Sword, The Shadow of Asak by Stephen Brooke available March 25, 2016

Garranok by Lupus Garcia available March 26, 2016

Dear Time Circle of Life by Jon Ng available March 26, 2016

 

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Crown of Sacrifice by Lara S. Chase available March 28, 2016

Ronin by Edward W. Robertson available March 30, 2016

Escape Aether, Save Aether, Into Aether by LM Fry available March 30, 2016

Magio Kingdom by Carita Lewis available March 30, 2016

The Tale II: The Abomination by David Kingsley Evans available March 31, 2016

Coexist by Anna Tan available March 31, 2016

All That Glitters by Michon Neal available March 31, 2016

The Lost Star Episode Three by Odette C Bell available April 1, 2016

Gamma Nine by Christi Smit available April 1, 2016

The Defender Chronicles: Volume 2 by Robert Collins available April 1, 2016

The Marianated Nottingham and Other Abuses of the Language by Charley Pearson available April 1, 2016

Giovanni Goes to Med School by Kathy Bryson available April 1, 2016

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This list is created based on my own research. Any oversights in self-published books are not done purposefully or out of maliciousness. Books with a listed publisher other than the author’s name, listed under a genre other than Fantasy or Science-Fiction, or advertised on a separate eReader site, will not be included. Amendments will not be made to published posts. To ensure inclusion in the weekly updates, please send me an email and a link to your eBook to thedriftingpaige@gmail.com and, if given enough notice, I will do my best to include you!

New Self-Published eBooks: Week of March 20-26

Hey, everyone! This week, we have a bit of a change. There weren’t as many self-publications as usual (in the notable exception of Lulu!) and I actually decided to cut Kobo from the list. There have been more weeks without any publications than there have been with, so I figured that that forum is much less popular than the others. We still have four strong publication routes that readers and writers use, though, so hopefully this doesn’t disappoint anyone!

And away we go!

 

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The Third Throne: Angel of Vengeance by Tabitha Barret available March 20, 2016

Legend of Auberon by Elspeth Thomas available March 21, 2016

Found Objects by RussViola available March 21, 2016

Whispers of Bedlam Asylum by Mark C. King available March 21, 2016

Echoes of Tomorrow (#6 in the Season One Echoes of Tomorrow series) by Douglas Wayne available March 22, 2016

Dragon’s Heart by Michaelle Rabe available March 22, 2016

Sleight (#2 in the Benjamin Brown series) by Tom Twitchel available March 22, 2016

Imperfect (#2 in the Seven Flowers series) by Darci Darson available March 23, 2016

The Ballad of the Emerald Bard, Opus 1- The Suite of Seduction, Lost Love, and Revenge by Dan Bonser available March 23, 2016

Project Reunion (#2 In the Calm Act series) by Ginger Booth available March 23, 2016

Wars and Rumors of Wars: Episode 3 by M.G. Norris available March 25, 2016

Unleashed Evil: Time to Destroy by Keri Cooper available March 25, 2016

Tainted Ink by Tania Johansson available March 25, 2016

Spinnings: Brief Fantasies in Prose and Verse by Marian L. Thorpe available March 25, 2016

Skyjackers Episode 4: Betrayals and Betrothals by J.C. Staudt available March 25, 2016

Pima County Mesa Creek by Deep Bora available March 25, 2016

The Eye of Fuusa by Paul Emery available March 25, 2016

Clara Bow and the Stagg of Aaron (#2 in the Clara Bow Adventures) by Michael Dale available March 25, 2016

Blood Moon by Alexis Tiger available March 25, 2016

Sunk by Lies by Jess Erin available March 25, 2016

 

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Dragon Princess by Jason P. Crawford available March 20, 2016

The World Walker by Elizabeth Tybush available March 20, 2016

The Grid 3: Catharsis (#3 in the Grid Trilogy) by Paul Teague available March 22, 2016

Defeated Death by Luciana Correa available March 24, 2016

Temporal Contingency (#4 in the Big Sigma series) by Joseph R. Lallo available March 24, 2016

Indigo Man by M.J. Carlson available March 25, 2016

Godkill by W.Wm.Mee available March 25, 2016

Outbreak (#2 in the Solomon Experiments series) by Christina Fonseca available March 25, 2016

Red River Song by A.R. Mummey available March 25, 2016

Den of Sorrows by Quinn Loftis available March 25, 2016

The Phoenix Requiem by Richard L. Sanders available March 26, 2016

 

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The Infernal Isle: A Tale of Olde by Bryan Laszlo available March 24, 2016

Red River Song by A.R. Mummy available March 25, 2016

The Phoenix Requiem by Richard Sanders available March 26, 2016

 

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Phoebe and Jay by Carmel de Bertaut available March 13, 2016

Sweeter than Honey: Call of the Kodiak by Geraldine Allie available March 14, 2016          

Spludge, Beautiful Thing by Vad Inin available March 14, 2016

To Summon the Blackbird by Ken Dogget available March 14, 2016

Space Zombies by Regan W.H. Macauley available March 14, 2016

Mind Travelers 2- Harold’s Journey by J. Vincent Leroux available March 14, 2016

Actuna of Toris, Reconquest, and Retaliation (#1, #2, and #3 in the Arcadamius series) by Edward Warrior available March 14, 2016

A Road to the Thoen by Matthew Sciriha available March 15, 2016

Seeking the Light of Justice by Barry Nadel available March 15, 2016

Grey’s Land by George Redman available March 15, 2016

The Explorer’s Daughter by John William Meredith available March 15, 2016

This Monstrous Hope by Amanda Marslen available March 16, 2016

Planetfall by Susan Hart available March 16, 2016

Last 90 Days, Advance Notice, Reactive Heart (#1, #2, and #3 in the Archie Trilogy) by Gail Matelson available March 17, 2016

Kingdom Tales by Charles Umerie available March 17, 2016

Saefren Warriors, Conquest of Altimer (#1 and #2 in the Warriors of the Realm series) by Chris Brehm available March 18, 2016

The Messenger’s Heart by Richard Paul available March 18, 2016

Taken by Borgs by Sally Ann Melia available March 18, 2016

Atlantis Returns by Colin Smith available March 18, 2016

Invasion of the Ortaks by Sveinn Benonysson available March 18, 2016

Downfall by Aaron Morgan available March 18, 2016

Orbbelgguren Series (#7) by Stephen Christiansen available March 18, 2016

Descending by Kenneth R. Gerety available March 19, 2016

Silver City by Louise Lake available March 19, 2016

The Last White Faerie Tales by Roger Ewing Taylor available March 19, 2016

Extant by Baron Brady available March 20, 2016

 

Disclaimer: This list is created based on my own research. Any oversights in self-published books are not done purposefully or out of maliciousness. Books with a listed publisher other than the author’s name, listed under a genre other than Fantasy or Science-Fiction, or advertised on a separate eReader site, will not be included. Amendments will not be made to published posts. To ensure inclusion in the weekly updates, please send me an email and a link to your eBook tothedriftingpaige@gmail.com and, if given enough notice, I will do my best to include you!

eBook Review: Squid’s Grief by DK Mok

Hey everyone! Here is an in-depth review of a self-published eBook called Squid’s Grief. If you like the movie Blade Runner, dystopians, and character-driven novels, you should absolutely pick this guy up (or download it, rather 😉 )!

 

Title: Squid’s Grief

Author: DK Mok

Available: Kindle

Length: 356 pages

Synopsis: Baltus City is a futuristic hub in the middle of a dystopian world. Within the sprawling metropolitan, gangs vie for power, none more notable than the one lead by the recluse, Pearce, or the one led by his enemy, a smart forward-thinking woman named Verona. Caught between their constant warring is a young girl nicknamed Squid- downtrodden and stuck in a never-ending cycle of bad choices and bad people.

Squid has managed to stay just barely afloat in her life of crime with help from a not-yet-jaded police officer named Casey, but when a job goes wrong and she becomes guardian to an amnesiac named Grief, her world is turned upside down. Squid and Grief have to navigate the poisonous city to not only find his identity, but also find her salvation in the trash and scum that the gangs leave in their wake. Alone, they may have failed, but together, they may finally succeed.

Impression: This is DK Mok’s third novel, and I really am a believer in the fact that the more full novels an author writes, the better they get. This is a superb self-published novel, and Mok’s experience shows. I honestly went snooping around a lot because I didn’t believe that it actually was self-published. Mok has mastered alternate points of view, as seen in the five (maybe more) POVs that are used. Each character has a different voice. I feel like this is such a hard thing for a new author to master and Mok certainly has control over this technique. It made the novel very personal and the audience easily becomes invested in the characters. I especially liked the fact that the main character, Squid, is far from a strong character, but she’s still a compelling female lead. After the popular hullabaloo about strong female leads (and that’s a discussion for a different day), Squid is refreshing and real. I didn’t like her (purely based on personal preference… I wouldn’t want to be her friend), but I wanted to know her story. And the fact that I put that much thought into a character is proof just how great this book is.

I loved the cop Casey and her voice. I think she was so real and so at odds with Squid’s character. They were so different and yet their friendship was genuine. Even the interactions between the lesser characters were very real and the dialogue actually made me laugh at one point. Who says humor can’t be used effectively in fantasy??

The cover art is also beautiful and really puts the reader in the right frame of mind for the setting of the story. I think the only thing that put me off throughout the novel was that the sections of narration of each character were all rather short. It works for an eBook because it makes the reader think they’ve read more than they have (for whatever reason I thought this was a nice touch since you don’t have a physical book to grade your progress), but the sections were a bit too short. They weren’t full enough scenes for me, and I feel like the ones at the beginning of the novel should’ve been condensed. Some of Casey’s scenes, while interesting, were so short that I felt I didn’t get a feel of her as an actual character. Same with Verona and Grief. Toward the end, the short scenes built up the tension wonderfully and really added depth to the book, however. So, I would only apply that comment towards the first 250 pages. I’m giving the book 4 feather pens because of the artful skills that completed this book and the fun storytelling, and I really hope DK Mok churns out some more books!

This is a fantastic novel full of fast-paced action. Even in a dystopian world, Mok has brought to life the downtrodden and the optimistic in a literary world where repression and doubt is fashionable.

Rating

 

Madness or Terror? Analyzing the Famous Storyteller: Shirley Jackson

I’m going to do something a little different today for you guys. I have a literary analysis/ book review that I think you’d all be interested in, and it’s a little wordy, but stick with me. It’s worth it 🙂

Well… if you follow me on Goodreads, you may have been aware that I recently went through a frenzied week of binge reading Shirley Jackson. I knew she was the renowned author of The Haunting of Hill House, and I had previously read her short story The Lottery for one of my Master’s classes, but it honestly took multiple suggestions from Youtuber Marzia Bisognon (CutiePieMarzia) of Jackson’s book We Have Always Lived in the Castle for me to actually give the author more of a try.

And my god… how did it take me this long to read her books?

Jackson is well known, but I think her reputation as a writer has been overshadowed by the reputation of the actual Hill House legacy. The book has been made into two different movies, and, funnily enough, I actually saw the second one that was made in 1999 (The Haunting) in theaters. It was one of the earliest influences in my life that instilled in me my adoration of horror and ghost stories. I had absolutely no clue how good the actual book was (the movie was a bit cheesy, but it turned Catherine Zeta Jones into my childhood idol).

 

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Who else forgot Liam Neeson was in this??

The Haunting of Hill House is about a young woman who is invited to an old house as a participant in a three-month long experiment. An older scientist named Doctor Montague summons a group of people to stay, but only three make their way to the countryside manor: the protagonist, Eleanor Vance, a bohemian woman named Theodora, and the heir to the home, a young man named Luke Sanderson. The four of them spend sleepless nights in the oddly constructed country home and find their minds warped by the sensitive nature of the haunted house. Eleanor is the most strongly effected by Hill House, and by the end of the novel, she chooses her existence at the manor over her life in the city (where her older angry sister lives).

We Have Always Lived in the Castle is quite the opposite of this haunted story. Castle is a story about a young girl named Merricat Blackwood who lives in a luxurious, peaceful home with her older sister Constance and their Uncle Julian. Merricat, a social outsider, takes comfort in the presence of her white cat Jonas, and in her own mental puzzles that keep her anxiety from becoming too strong for her to function. She lives as a self-appointed protector over her older sister who is an avid cook and gentle caretaker. Constance is left to lead the household after the rest of their family was poisoned by a dose of arsenic in the family sugar bowl… a terrible 5-person murder in which she herself had been accused of doing. Merricat and Constance form a sort
of defensive bond against the societal norms of the city outside their property fence, until a long-lost cousin threatens to undo the fragile routine that had kept the remains of the family together.

I have to be honest; I looked far too deeply into both of these novels when I first read them. I thought that Jackson’s literary angle was either a commentary on a person’s madness or a spin on what makes a house haunted, rather than what it could possibly have been written as: a simple ghost story.

I felt that maybe, in both Castle and Hill House, the two main characters are themselves the hauntings in the houses. For example… MAJOR SPOILERS… when the house burns down in Castle, Merricat and Constance still reside in it… it is dilapidated and falling in on itself
and all of their belongings have been burned to the ground… and yet they are so happy. It’s an idealistic conclusion in which there actually is a happy ending and the people who love each other live happily ever after. And in Hill House, although Eleanor does end up killing herself, she sees it as the only way she’ll be able to live her [after]life the way she wants to. She was always following society’s rules and living how her sister told her to. Hill House was her one chance at independence and she finally found a place where she fit in (even though the spooks that went bump in the night liked to write her name in blood on the wall… they were doing it because they loved her… right?).

But, also, the way Merricat acted toward her wayward cousin had a definite sense of disconnect… in other literary analyses, she’s been described as having outward mildly-retarded tendencies while still being sharp as a tack in her narration. When infuriated, she acts like a poltergeist and destroys things in the house. She brings in sticks and breaks milk jugs and has witch-like beliefs. All of these traits and actions make the reader wonder if, in actuality, Merricat is the only scary thing about the book. And Eleanor, her clearly sensitive grief to her recent mother’s death seems to ooze into her surroundings and affects her daily musings and decisions. She can still smell her mother’s dying body and can still hear the knocking of her cane on the wall from the day of her death. So, it is possible that the only part of the houses that is “haunted” could surely be in the protagonists’ minds.

Despite these literary discussions, I believe both books do a fantastic job of analyzing, quietly, the relationship between societal expectations and growing up different from everyone else. This is what drew me so emphatically to the characters. There is a scene in Hill House in which Theodora and Eleanor meet and become friends… and it has to be the most genuine character interaction I have read in a very, very long time. I could feel their mutual amicability and their instant bond as they lazed near the running river. Not only they, but Constance and Merricat also shared an impenetrable bond that was stronger than any other sisterhood than I have read (sorry, Katniss and Primrose). I thought at first that maybe Constance only loved Merricat out of fear of being poisoned herself, but I discovered quickly that this definitely wasn’t the case. The sisters loved and respected each other even when they didn’t agree with each other. And that is a real relationship. These relationships defy social norms just as the women themselves do. And instead of being stories just about ghosts, they are also about their love for one another when the rest of the world rejects them… despite the hardships this causes, they still remain true to themselves.

I absolutely loved Jackson’s books and really, truly recommend them to you all. I think you’d enjoy the prose (which isn’t too flowery or overdone like a lot of classics) and the actual story. I drank these books like water; they’re so easy to get through. So if you have a nice rainy day soon (and you will if you live in New England like I do), you should absolutely sit down and give these books a try. I’m giving both of them 5 feather pens because I love these books and couldn’t find a single fault in them. They may you think, feel, and forget the world all at the same time… they’re immersive and tender and have quickly become favorites. I already want to read them again.

I hope you all liked this review/ literary analysis! Until next time.

Live,
Morgan Paige

Check out my About page, too if you feel like contacting me via email 🙂

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Hey everyone! I just wanted to make a quick shout-out to you all and say, yes, the layout of the blog has changed! I have some format updates coming this week (it’s been a little too long since I freshened up the site) and just want to let you all know that it’s intentional 🙂 Everything should hopefully be more user friendly and should help us all connect easier and chat more. I have some plans in mind and I’d love to hear what you think!

Let me know if you like the look of things, I’d love your feedback and constructive critiques! ❤

Until next time!

Live,
Morgan Paige

Check out my About page, too if you feel like contacting me via email 🙂

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Goodreads

Pinterest

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New Self-Published Books: March 13-19

Here’s this weeks list of upcoming self-published eBooks! There’s some super interesting cover art this month, I get so sucked in to original artwork that I just can’t wait to read their stories! I may have to do a post about how choosing your cover is so important and the multiple options you can get. I love looking up some new science fiction, too… I feel like I haven’t read enough of that this year. The Other Side of Gravity by Shelly Crane looks especially good, too! So maybe I’ll choose that book to review this week 🙂

Have an awesome week, everyone! Enjoy!

 

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Throne of Demons by Edison G.S. available March 14, 2016the glass prison

The Plague Unto the End by T. Gault, Dave Bounds available March 14, 2016

Kirk Sandblaster Faces TETRAGEDDON by Oil Jacobs available March 14, 2016

The Glass Prison by Vanessa Fletcher available March 14, 2016

The House of Shells by Andy Monk available March 14, 2016

Your Truth is Out There by David Allen Kimmel available March 14, 2016

Parallel by L.J. Stock available March 14, 2016parallel

Sunspire (#4 in the Reach series) by Mark R. Healy available March 14, 2016

Griddlebone (#3 in the P.A.W.S. series) by Debbie Manber Kupfer available March 15, 2016

Ghost of a Smile (#2 in the Ghost Protector Trilogy) by EJ Devitt available March 15, 2016

Dark Things Between the Shadow and the Soul: Fractured Fairy Tales from Indian Mythology by Sudha Kuruganti available March 15, 2016

Caracal’s Harvest by Chris Jags available March 15, 2016 caracals harvest

The Strength of a Heart (#2 in the Stolen Wings series) by Ioana Visan available March 15, 2016

Wrecker’s Moon by Patrick McClafferty available March 15, 2016

Robot Evolution: Perfect Partners (#15 in the Perfect Partners, Inc. series) by Ann Christy available March 15, 2016

An Exalted Depravity by Logan Judy available March 15, 2016

Skeleton Jim by J.R. Rain available March 15, 2016

A Shade of Vampire (#24 in the Bridge of Stars series) by Bella Forrest
available robot evolutionMarch 15, 2016

The Journey: The Church of the Sacred Seven by J D Foster available March 16, 2016

Europa Collective 1 by Aaron Hubble available March 16, 2016

Wars and Rumors of Wars: Episode Two by M.G. Norris available March 17, 2016

The Tau Device by Terence Park available March 17, 2016

Last Breath by Debra Dunbar available March 17, 2016

Paydunor: An Apprentice Eternal by Brad DeBorde available March 18, 2016

The King of Las Vegas by John Van Stry available March 18, 2016wars and rumors of wars

The Hero Revealed (#2 in the Alliance of Elves and Humans series) by Elvin Quimbey available March 18, 2016

Skyjackers- Episode 3 (The Winds of Justice) by J.C. Staudt available March 18, 2016

Spellbound (#3 in the Dark Spell series) by Michelle Escamilla available March 18, 2016

Resurrection: Part 1 (#2 in the Remnant series) by Zak Clements available March 19, 2016

Nyssa Glass and the House of Mirrors by HL Burke available March 19, 2016

 

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The Phoenix Requiem by Richard L. Sanders available March 13, 2016 the phoenix requiem

Ella’s Destiny by Pearl A. Gardner available March 13, 2016

Omnipresent Occultation by Caldon Mull available March 13, 2016

The Elves of Avalon (#4 in the Fair and the Fey series) by J. Ellene available March 14, 2016

The Other Side of Gravity by Shelly Crane available March 15, 2016

Heretic (#7 in the Sanctuary series) by Robert J. Crane available March 15, 2016

The Witchling Apprentice by B. Kristin McMichael available March 15, 2016

High Tide at Harvest Moon by Taryn Blackthorne available March 15, 2016the other side of gravity

Alien Plunder by Megan Edwards available March 15, 2016

The Dubious Hills by Pamela Dean available March 15, 2016

Blood Scroll of Antares by Brian K. Larson available March 15, 2016

The Ghost of the Navigator (#2 in the Talent Show series) by Tommy Muncie available March 16, 2016

Hurt by Trina Lee available March 18, 2016

Dark Shores of Salvation (#3 in the Travail of the Dark Mage series) by Brian Pratt available March 18, 2016

An Exquisite Nightmare by Kate Winters available March 19, 2016

 

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Help Wanted by Susan Hart available March 6, 2016

Potential Danger Ahead by Susan Hart available March 6, 2016

Alien Ruins (#2) by Eric Romano Maia available March 6, 2016

Dorie Daydream: In the Land of Idoj (#1 in the Juna series) by Glenn Murdock available March 6, 2016

Out into the Open by S.C. Grodin available March 7, 2016

Demon Slayers (#2) by Eric Romano Maia available March 7, 2016help wanted

Saefren Warriors (#1, 2 Warriors of the Realm series) by Chris Brehm available March 7, 2016

The Golden Wand- A Drop from the Heart by Nufai NFS available March 7, 2016

Legend of Rei (#1, 2, and 3) by Kayn Critchley available March 7, 2016

Harbinger by Stephen Christiansen available March 7, 2016

The Man and the Moth by Ethan Campbell available March 7, 2016

The Messenger’s Heart by Richard Paul available March 8, 2016

Sympathy for the Devil by Graeme Maughan available March 9, 2016

Against all Gods (#5 in the Verdan Chronicles) by David Gerspach kindred soulsavailable March 9, 2016

The Witches by Gerrard Wilson available March 9, 2016

Multiverse Explorer by John William Meredith available March 9, 2016

Dorie Daydream: In the Land of Idoj (#2, 3 in the Juna series) by Glenn Murdock available March 10, 2016

Kindred Souls by F.A. Ludwig available March 10, 2016

E-Tron 2 by Akshaj Mehta available March 10, 2016

The Stone Steps by Barbara J. Mason available March 11, 2016

The Big Book of Science Fictionby Susan Hart March 11, 2016

The Grey Woods by J. Carson Rose available March 11, 2016

Translucent by Nathaniel Beardsley available March 12, 2016

 

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Alignment: The Locked City by H.G. Suren available March 13, 2016an unkindness of ravens

Omnipresent Occultation by Caldon Mull available March 13, 2016

Daughter of Magic by Teresa Roman available March 15, 2016

An Unkindness of Ravens by Jeanette Battista available March 15, 2016

The Journey by J.D. Foster available March 16, 2016

Ghost of the Navigator by Tommy Muncie available March 16, 2016

 

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Disclaimer: This list is created based on my own research. Any oversights in self-published books are not done purposefully or out of maliciousness. Books with a listed publisher other than the author’s name, listed under a genre other than Fantasy or Science-Fiction, or advertised on a separate eReader site, will not be included. Amendments will not be made to published posts. To ensure inclusion in the weekly updates, please send me an email and a link to your eBook to thedriftingpaige@gmail.com and, if given enough notice, I will do my best to include you!

A Collection of Thought Bubbles: The Difference Between Inspiration and Plagiarism

Oh my… the never-ending writer’s pilgrimage of finding creative inspiration…

The other day, I was talking to my boyfriend, who is an incredible writer, about how he finds inspiration for his poems. It was actually a very compelling conversation, because I found out that he and I operate as complete opposites in terms of finding inspiration. He is the type of person who drinks in media and culture and emotions to form a story or theme, and here I am… sitting and trying to use my imagination…

For the longest time, I’ve had this flag in my mind that said, “If you use someone else’s creation for inspiration, you’re plagiarizing.” Maybe it was from constantly being told in school you can’t copy or even paraphrase someone else, because, hey! That’s wrong! Drawing on someone else’s creativity seemed like a stolen and unoriginal idea, and I just couldn’t shake that from my psyche.

Sure, I’ve still written my entire life, but in hindsight, if I had been a little less “trapped” in my own head, my progress and proficiency would have probably grown faster and stronger than it has. Reading my boyfriend’s material really made me take a step back… because nothing of his is plagiarized. It’s all deeply original and thought-provoking, but it took a small spark from some painting or lyrical song to set his poetry in motion.

How does he do this, you wonder? How can you ensure you are using a medium for inspiration and not plagiarizing? What is the actual difference between inspiration and plagiarizing? Well… let me tell you some tips 🙂

First off, let’s begin with some definitions from gool ol’ dictionary.com:

Inspire: to fill with an animating, quickening, or exalting influence.

Plagiarize: to take and use ideas, passages, etc., from (another’s work).

Ahh…just what I was afraid of. Even the definitions are shifty…

Essentially, what the biggest difference here is, is that when you use something as inspiration, you are not using the idea or the actual physical production of the medium. You cannot use direct text without referencing, you cannot use someone else’s photo and make it different colors and call it yours. But what you can do, is write about how that passage made you feel or drift off on a tangent that you feel like should have been discussed. The most identifying difference here is the emotional response and influence that inspiration has on you. If you don’t invest and produce your own ideas on top of what you are using as inspiration, you’re therefore only churning out a shadow of what was already created.

One of the biggest literary works that has been accused of plagiarism is the book Roots by Alex Haley… and even then, the author wasn’t fully denounced because there wasn’t (initially) much proof that could support whether plagiarism or inspiration was at fault (you can read more about this here). The fact that such a highly regarded novel could still be accused of “excessive” inspiration from other works makes me wonder… how do the rest of us get away with saying, “I was always inspired by such-and-such author as a kid?”

roots
AND it’s a Pulitzer Prize winner???

Obviously, the most important part is to not steal direct quotes as an author. Names, places, magical systems, all of those are completely out of the question. But there are a few ways you can ensure your own contribution to art with original, well thought out ingenuity.

  1. Don’t be afraid. This is the biggest hurdle for me, personally. I’m so nervous of getting in trouble or coming off as insincere if I use something as inspiration. By allowing myself to be a little more unrestricted in regards to inspiration, I’ve added a sort of depth that some of my writing has lacked in the past. Go ahead and give it a shot, but always be honest with yourself if you go back and read it and it is essentially a mirror of that painting or movie. Readers like authenticity, and they like reading something with an author’s personal spin on it. So, even if you feel like your idea isn’t as good as the one you saw, have faith in the fact that audiences always pick up on your own special touch… and that’s way better than some sterile copy.
  2. Start with inspiration, end with originality. No matter your approach, keep going until you have struck gold. Sometimes, you may be too afraid in your story outlining that something may seem too similar to another book. Begin writing before you chuck out the idea, because chances are, you will not stick to the inspiration and your story will grow from it. And, for example, if you do choose to write a scene where there is a troll confronting your heroes *cough*Lord of the Rings AND Harry Potter*cough*, make sure the scene is distinctly yours. JK Rowling did get a lot of flak for the scene resembling JRR Tolkein’s, but really… the only similarity is that the protagonists are fighting a troll. The scene is different, the motivations are different, the world is different, the dialogue is different, and the end is VERY much different. Start with that troll, and make sure that by the end of the scene it’s twirling it’s tiara between two fingers or something. Everyone likes a princess troll!
  3. Identify the inspiration. The most important thing about inspiration is understanding why it’s so appealing to you. Oh, you enjoyed that side character from that specific movie and now you want to write a book about him? Why? What was so appealing about him? Don’t just write a character profile about this one dude and assume you got it in the bag. Identify what made you so compelled to write a story about a character like this. Is he mysterious? Funny? Supportive? Is he just so different from the norm that you couldn’t look away? Was it his myriad of tattoos or was it the way the actual actor looked and held himself? Always dig deeper, because there’s usually something else there that can spark another wild idea and lead you to something original and enchanting.

I hope this discussion sort of addressed some writing fears and trials of yours, because God knows I’m in the middle of a personal overhaul in terms of inspiration. Do you guys have any piece of work that was inspired by something and, when finished, was completely different than you thought? Or have you scrapped anything that just couldn’t shake its ghostly influence? I’d love to hear what your experiences are!

Until next time.

Live,

Morgan Paige

Cafe Review: A&E Coffee Roastery, Amherst NH

2016 has been a game of catch up (it’s only March!!), and, as an introvert, it’s become a little exhausting. I enjoy space and time with my loved ones and friends, but this past weekend I found myself sitting in my living room after a particularly hard gym session (working up to running 5 miles is proving itself incredibly challenging), planning out my day, when I spontaneously put everything I needed to do to the side, left the house, and drove away from the loud masses of society… and my own churning head.

Instead of driving toward the city where my auto repair shop, grocery store, and bank lay, I went out toward the edge of town where a fantastic little café and roaster resides: A&E Roastery. It was like a dose of medicine as I walked in: it’s a haven for writers, adventurers, and artists alike. I’ve been a frequent haunt of theirs, always getting that same cup of brew to go and never really taking the time to enjoy their store and atmosphere… but that day, I decided to stop and take a breath and enjoy my coffee.

Their menu is vast and exploratory. Next to their normal choices (cappuccinos, lattes, Americanos) are specialty drinks like breves, nitrogen-infused cold brew, and pour overs. I ordered the latter, which is essentially a more involved version of drip coffee in which the barista pours hot water into a filter full of grounds and allows the water to drip through slowly and patiently. I absolutely loved this version of a cup of coffee; they gave me the Rwanda blend, and I discovered it was more open and flavorful and, surprisingly, a lot less acidic than the normal brew version. They offer gluten-free snacks, sandwiches, soups, and there are always vegetarian options available as well. The store is adorably setup with cozy reading nooks complete with cushiony chairs and intimate seating. I ended up choosing a nice bar seat in front of a well-lit window to sip my hot drink and settle my thoughts into contentedness.

Besides the fantastic coffee and food, A&E Roasters is also incredibly involved with their community and have the friendliest staff. They feature their roasted coffee beans at local joints like Jajabelles in downtown Nashua and sell their own beans in-house. They are featured in The Hippo, a local newspaper out of Manchester, NH, and were nominated in The Hippo’s Best Of awards, which just goes to show how much of a local favorite they are.

It’s been a while since I had written a quality café review, and I felt this was a necessary revival. Cafés are a writer’s safe haven away from home and if I can find quality shops in my travels, I want to share them with you all 🙂

Do any of you have a favorite drink or order of choice at a nearby café? I’d love to hear new suggestions; I’m always looking for a good drink to try!

Until next time.

Live,

Morgan Paige