The State of the Reader: 8/16/17

<–The State of the Reader: 8/9/17          The State of the Reader: 8/23/17–>

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. The Pendragon Protocol by Philip Purser-Hallard: Kept – Arthurian Knights in the modern day with modern technology doing what they do best.  Certain types of urban fantasy are growing on me.  I like the speculation of how classic fantasy characters and tropes would look with modern technology.  It was also inexpensive, so I now have it on Kindle.
  2. Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Kept – I hoping this psychological thriller is more satisfying than the last one I read.
  3. Komarr by Lois McMaster Bujold: Passed – It just didn’t grab me.
  4. One by Sarah Crossan: Kept (RWTR) – I had no idea this was written in free verse lending it a lovely poetic air.  I was already interesting in it for it’s subject matter (conjoined twin sisters), though I have a feeling I’m going to be a bawling mess by the end.
  5. Dweller by Jeff Strand: Kept (RWTR) – Gripping from the very first sentence, and the monster (or monsters) from the blurb are clearly sentient.  At only $2.99 I had to buy it.
  6. Raising Stony Mayhall by Daryl Gregory: Kept – This has been a week of cheap samples.  I keep reading samples for books that are really inexpensive on Amazon.  This is a zombie story with a twist (of course, since zombie stories are old news now).  The Mayhall family finds the body of a pregnant teenager with a seemingly dead baby, but though the child has no pulse, he appears to be “alive.”  They hide the child from the authorities who will kill him (sounds similar to The Last of Us), keeping his existence a secret until circumstances force the boy, whom they name Stony, to run.  This is the second Daryl Gregory book I’ll have read, the first being The Devil’s Alphabet, which had a great deal of potential, but was ultimately disappointing.  I hope Raising Stony Mayhall doesn’t fall into the same trap.
  7. The Children of Húrin by Christopher Tolkien: Kept – This was one of those books that had too much introduction, so I didn’t actually get to read any of it, but it’s the work of J. R. R. Tolkien edited by his son, so I have high hopes.  I was also able to borrow it on Amazon Prime.  Apparently, you can do that with some books with the limit being ten at a time.

Books Purchased This Week: 5

Title: The Pendragon Protocol
Series Title: The Devices Trilogy
Author: Philip Purser-Hallard
Date Added: January 15, 2017
Date Purchased: August 10, 2017

Media: eBook/Kindle
Price: $2.95
Retailer: Amazon

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The State of the Gamer: 8/15/17

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

A weekly post updated every Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have quite a backlog of games to either play or watch, and I’m hoping a weekly article will assist with my progress as my other accountable posts have done with reading and writing.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a essentially Goodreads for gamers, so please feel free to friend me there!

Games Finished This Week: 1

Title: The Room Three
Genre: Puzzle, Mystery
Developer: Fireproof Games
Platform(s): iOS, Android
Release Date: 2015
Date Purchased: May 28, 2017
Date Started: May 28, 2017
Date Finished (1): July 4, 2017
Date Finished (2): August 15, 2017
Playing Duration (1): 37 days
Playing Duration (2): 79 days

Admission time.  I watched a video of the last two alternative endings.  The puzzle for one of them was really difficult, and I just couldn’t be bothered.  Regardless, I really liked not only this game, but the entire series.  I’d highly recommend it to anyone who likes point-and-click puzzle games.  I don’t think I paid more than $3 for more than a single one of them, and the first one is free.  I’m not going to do an official review post for either of them, since there’s really no need; however, I did review each on Grouvee, and I’ll see about rating them on Amazon, since I played through my Kindle.

Let me know what you think if you decide to try them!


Currently Playing: 3

Title: Final Fantasy Type-0
Series: Final Fantasy/Fabula Nova Crystallis
Genre: Action RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square Enix
Platform: PlayStation 4
Release Date: October 27, 2011
Date Purchased: May 18, 2017
Date Started: June 18, 2017

Progress: Chapter 2 – Leaving on first official mission

No additional progress this week.  Hopefully, I’ll find time to play this weekend.  I’m on vacation the first two weeks in September, so I’m hoping to really get some play time in then.

Title: Final Fantasy V
Series: Final Fantasy
Genre: RPG – Fantasy
Developer: Square
Platform: PlayStation
Release Date: December 6, 1992
Date Purchased: Unknown
Date Started: June 17, 2017

Progress: Outside Walz Castle – Grinding

No progress on this one either.  Since I finished The Room Three, and I typically play that Tuesday nights, I’m hoping to trade that for this, but since it’s already 9:30 and I have more to do, it doesn’t seem highly likely tonight.

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The State of the Writer: 8/13/17

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

A weekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and where I stand with them.  This will include any and all work(s) in progress (WIP) be they creative writing, essays/analyses, or reviews of any type.

Project: Story
Title:
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 266,752
Prior Word Count: 266,754
Word Difference: -2
Status: Posting Chapter 10
Progress: Posted to WP

Aerith by mercenarioxflorista

The process of posting can be as arduous as the process of editing.  I’ve posted Chapter 10 here, as I’m sure some of you have seen (if not I linked it), but I still have three other sites to replicate that on, all with different nuances of method.  I’ll try to get it up on AO3 tonight, since that’s the easiest one.  I’d say the hardest is Deviant Art, since tumblr’s made some updates so I don’t have to go through and add italics any more after I copy and paste, but DevArt is all HTML coding, which I’ve become quite adept at.  The easiest thing to do is switch to HTML on WordPress and copy/paste from there.  Unfortunately, DA has an unknown character limit, so you have to estimate how much you can post.  I’ll have to split this chapter into at least two due to its length.  Once it’s posted where it needs to be, I’ll start editing the next chapter.

Oh!  I also fixed the image for Chapter 9.  How I missed this in my reviews I don’t know, but the words were “Chapter 10 Excursion” instead of Chapter 9 *facepalm*  I’d post a picture of it so you could see what I meant specifically, but it looks like I deleted it entirely.

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Upcoming

I posted the review for Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (which I DNF) yesterday.  Seems like I’m posting one review a week.  I want to up that. I did post a mini-review of sorts for Tales of the Arabian Nights on Goodreads, which I wasn’t going to do, but some of the reviews I saw for it pissed me off, so it was more of a review response than an actual review.  I talk about this more and in fact copied what I wrote in my upcoming State of the Reader.

The current and upcoming list is as follows:

  1. Talon by Julie Kagawa
  2. Saga: Volume 7 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
  3. Stone & Iris by Jonathan Ballagh
  4. Gaslight Hades by Grace Draven
  5. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  6. Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill & Gabriel Rodriguez
  7. The Beauty Thief by Rachael Ritchey (DNF)
  8. The Poetic Edda by Anonymous
  9. My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Volume 1 by Katie Cook & Andy Price
  10. Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
  11. The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow
  12. The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess by Akira Himekawa
  13. Goldie Vance Volume 1 by Hope Larson & Brittney Williams

Project: Game Review
Title: SOMA
Developer:  Frictional Games
Let’s Player: ChristopherOdd
Prior Word Count: 1071
Current
Word Count: 1738
Word Difference: +667
Status: Drafting

Just completed some work on the review right before this update.  I’m in story summary mode, which I always have a dilemma with.  Do I summarize and analyze concurrently or do I save the latter for afterwards?  I usually settle on a happy medium: I’m bringing up questions and ideas in the summary that I’ll explore in a thorough analysis afterwards.

What’s also difficult is triangulating all of my information sources.  Neither Wikipedia nor the SOMA wiki adequately recount the story to my liking, but I need some plot point reminders, just enough to spark my memory.  I don’t recall the order of everything, and a lot of the timeline pages I’ve found paint with too broad of a brush, missing some seemingly minor but integral elements e.g. Carl, first encounter with a WAU node, etc., and I think they order the events differently, though I’m less concerned about that as I am missing something vital. This is going to be a long term review project that I might slate for finish the first two weeks of September when I’m on vacation.


What are you currently working on?  Is it a creative writing project, essay, review, or something else?  Have you just started something new or are you wrapping up a long term project?

<–The State of the Writer: 8/6/17          The State of the Writer: 8/20/17–>

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The Real Neat Blogger Award

I was nominated for this half a year ago by real neat blogger herself Ignited Moth who posts include abundant book reviews (with a special emphasis on comics and graphic novels), her own gorgeous art, A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones (one of our mutual loves), and many other amazing things.  And I just have to steal her gif.

It’s taking me a little while to catch up on my award nominations and blogger tags, and since I have so many thanks to all you lovely people, I’m finding I need to pass on any duplicates at this point.  I certainly appreciate the accolades, you’re all drowning me with your kindness ♥

THE RULES:

Thank and link the person who nominated you.

Answer the seven questions your nominator has provided.

Nominate 7 other bloggers and create 7 questions for them.

Easy enough…sevens across the board 😉

IGNITED MOTH’S QUESTIONS:

1.) What is your favorite memory of 2016? – Can I say when it ended?  Is that too morbid?  I don’t think 2016 was a great year, but then a year is really just the time it takes this planet to circle its sun that we humans have imbued with arbitrary meaning (and yes I am fun at parties).  There’s also the fact that we’re more than halfway through 2017 (which also is pretty terrible…I’m seriously trying to avoid Facebook right now, because ugh), so it’s hard to weed out what happened in the past year from what happened currently.  Hm, hopefully, I’ll do better on the next question.

2.) If you could make a living in any profession (your absolute dream job) what would it be? – Writer.  No questions asked.

3.) Have you ever met anyone famous? – I did see Tom Hiddleston in real life last year in NYC, but I didn’t actually meet him (mores the pity D:).  Hey!  That could be my “favorite memory of 2016” 😀

4.) If you could travel to any one place in the world right now where would it be? – England.  I’ve always wanted to go, and we nearly went to London a few years ago, but the finances just weren’t in place.

5.) Who is your favorite author? – George R. R. Martin writes my favorite book series A Song of Ice and Fire, so I suppose he could count as my favorite author, but I really think of it more as he writes my favorite book series (if that makes any sense).  Martin has said some problematic things, and while I like it when celebrities are playfully trollish, sometimes he comes off a bit harsh.  While I appreciate any writing advice given by a master of the craft and someone who’s achieved wild success, the fact that the advice varies from master to master says a great deal for the arbitrary and fickle nature of the publishing world (I’m including Stephen King in this assessment, too.  His advice about “never using adverbs” seems a bit too cut and dry).  Obviously talent is often involved in gleaming success (though not all the time), and it certainly is in Martin’s case, but there are many other factors that are often outside a writer’s control to contend with, which leaves many potential masterpieces undiscovered and an abundance of authors in the shadow of obscurity.  So though Martin writes my favorite series and second favorite story of all time, I’d have to say my favorite author (at least currently) is Grace Draven who wrote the Wraith Kings Series.

6.) What is your favorite mythical creature? – I don’t think angels count so I suppose I’ll go with vampires.  They’re close to as beautiful.

7.) What do you look most forward to in 2017? – I suppose I should go to 2018 at this point.  Finding time to improve my blog and get my YouTube channel underway.

MY NOMINEES:

The Writing Hufflepuff – I can’t have a Harry Potter question and not tag her!  She’s the Harry Potter guru whose blog is an utter and adorable delight.  I’ve added many a book and graphic novel to my ever expanding TBR list due to her recommendations.  In fact it’s arguable that she steered me in the direction of graphic novels, though someone else recommended Saga.

Getting Through Anxiety – A fellow writer I’m happy to support.  She has one mid-grade/YA novel out Rest in Piece and a book of short stories, Abstract Clarity, which I recently bought.  Like most authors, she’s always in the process of writing more!

By Hook or By Book – Another blogger who has contributed to my growing TBR shelf.  I hold her reviews in extremely high esteem and have even forgone reading some novels, because I trust her judgment that much (and I have way too many things to read).

Space, Time, and Raspberries – She’s currently and quite diligently posting an endearing story about snails, true love, and warfare (yes you read that right) as we speak, and I know I’m not the only person to benefit from her writing wisdom.  I especially appreciate how she inspired this idea 🙂

AmbiGaming – One of my best blogging friends and a brilliant essayist to boot.  I often check my blog subs on my phone during down time at work, but certain people I need to clear out some time for, because I need both the time to read/absorb and formulate an intelligent response.  Anyone whose posts require some is someone you should check out.

Comma Hangover – One of my latest follows and I’ve already added quite a few books due to her always prompt weekly updates and reviews!

Arkham Asylum – My literal maid of honor (no like really in my actual IRL wedding) who’s blog is a genuine and often raw account of her experiences with mental illness.  As someone who faces some of those demons as well, it’s a place of solidarity to both give and receive.

MY 7 QUESTIONS:

  1. What mythical/legendary creature would you choose to be?
  2. What’s your Hogwarts House, if you’ve taken the Pottermore quiz; if not, what Hogwarts House do you think you’d be sorted into?
  3. What’s your favorite/lucky number?
  4. What’s your favorite planet in the solar system?
  5. What’s your favorite fictional weapon?
  6. What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?
  7. What’s your favorite graphic novel?

Always optional and open to everyone (not just those tagged).  Have at it!

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Nightshade City by Hilary Wagner (Nightshade Chronicles #1) (DNF)

Title: Nightshade City.
Series Title: Nightshade Chronicles
Author: Hilary Wagner
Date Added: May 17, 2016
Date Started: June 23, 2017
Date DNF: June 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 7 days
Percentage Read: 28%
Genre: Fantasy, Mid-Grade/Young Adult (YA),

Nightshade City

Pages: 260
Publication Date: October 1, 2010
Publisher: Holiday House
Media: Hardback/Library

Shares Paradigms With: Redwall, Watership Down (both linked in the blurb below)


Deep beneath Trillium City, a modern metropolis, lies the Catacombs, a kingdom of rats of extraordinary intelligence and ability. The once peaceful and democratic colony has become a harsh dictatorship ruled by the High Minister Kildeer and his henchman, Billycan, who runs the Kill Army and collects weekly Stipend from the terrified subjects. The two of them rule with iron fists. With most of the adult rats wiped out in Killdeer’s Bloody Coup and the subsequent great flood, orphaned young male rats are forced into the army and the females into servitude or worse. But change is coming. . . .

Two orphan brothers, Vincent and Victor Nightshade, sons of a hero killed in the Bloody Coup, manage to escape from the Kill Army and meet up with Juniper Belancourt, leader of a rebel group seeking to overthrow their oppressors and restore peace and democracy in a new city. The brothers are quickly caught up in Juniper’s cause: “We survive by cover of night. We live in the shadows, waiting for our redemption! Our name must symbolize our burning spirit. . . . Tonight and forever, we are Nightshade City!”

Juniper’s plans are complicated by many factors. His lovely young niece Clover has been picked by Killdeer to be his next Chosen One, so the rebels and their allies the Earthworms must work fast to save her. Can the rebels locate their enemies’ War Room? Can Juniper’s former love, now holding a position in Killdeer’s Ministry, be trusted? Will the rebels be able to execute their plans without the aid of a young Topsider (human)? And how will Vincent and Victor fare in battle will they honor their father’s legacy of courage?

NIGHTSHADE CITY is rich with memorable characters: Vincent, who comes of age in this time of change; his worshipful younger brother, Victor; beautiful, intelligent Clover; Mother Gallo, a canny survivor who discovers her lost love only to risk losing him again; the charismatic Juniper, a kind and courageous leader whose vision carries the rebels into great danger; Killdeer, a decadent narcissist with surprising depth; and Billycan, a truly demented former lab rat, brilliant, vicious, and Juniper’s sworn enemy.

This enthralling animal fantasy, in the classic tradition of Redwall and Watership Down, encompasses timeless themes of honor and loyalty, family ties and lost love, alliances and betrayals. Readers will respond enthusiastically to this surefire page-turner, set in a brilliantly imagined world filled with easy-to-root-for heroes and villains they’ll love to hate.


This story was touted as sharing paradigms with both Redwall and Watership Down, two of my favorite series/novels of animal centered fantasy/fiction.  In Hilary Wagner’s work, they are anthropomorphic like the former and are forced to fight against a totalitarian regime like the latter.  Unlike Brian Jacques’ long running series though, the rats of Nightshade City have a human factor to contend with, and the fact that the protagonists are rats differentiates it from Redwall even more.  Mr. Jacques has an extremely strict system where certain species fall (and there’s a great deal I can say about that in terms to how it compares to social class, but that’s a subject for another post), and rats are almost always villainous except in a few cases, which are quite noteworthy.

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The Broken Rose: Chapter 10 – A General Transition

The Broken Rose Page

<–Chapter 9                                                                                                  Chapter 11–>

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy VII, its characters, and settings are all property of Square Enix so I can take no credit nor claim any ownership of that. I do take some credit for the story’s plot.
Banner Artwork Disclaimer:  The featured artwork for the banner is entitled White rose I and was created by the very talented Deviant Artist RemusSirion who was gracious enough to grant me permission to use it here.  The picture has been slightly altered from the original. All rights belong to the artist, and links are included for both the artist page and the work.
Chapter Artwork Disclaimer: The featured artwork for this chapter is entitled Sephy and was created by the very talented and gracious Deviant Artist Eeveetachi.  The picture has been slightly altered in appearance and to include the chapter number and title.  All rights belong to the artist, and the image is used here with their permission.  Links are included for both the artist’s page and the work.

*******MAJOR CONTENT WARNING*******

Consistent and sustained graphic descriptions and mentions of rape/ sexual assault, sexual slavery/bondage, slavery, human trafficking, physical abuse, graphic descriptions of violence, mental abuse, emotional abuse, psychological abuse, body shaming, starvation, torture, forced pregnancy, forced childbirth, miscarriage, forced miscarriage, abortion, and other potential disturbing and triggering topics.

There’s an additional warning for this chapter after the chapter break (marked with an asterisk *) for an explicitly described assault.  Please proceed with caution if necessary.

Aeris finds comfort in Sephiroth’s protection while soothing his heart made for war, and despite the reasons for his “creation,” the term “general” is sweet from her lips.  Though the past still haunts both and not even he can shield her from all its affects.

A picture of Sephiroth sitting in an amorphous, neutrally colored background facing right with his knees up and both arms wrapped around his abdomen. His long, silver hair sweeps off to the right, and his one black wing curls around his body, the top above his head and the bottom partially covering one leg. He has a pained and forlorn expression, and several black feathers float around him. “Chapter 10 A General Transition” in black letters sits to the right of the wing with the word “General” in a different font from the rest.

He put Aeris down and fell to his knees, covering his face to silver in spill.  It shimmered upon the fine wood floor beyond the door of Heaven’s Gate.  The great black wing was lowered behind, swallowing darkness and giving it back.

“Master, dear master, whatever is it?  Why are you in so much pain?”  She desperately searched for that angel’s visage, but it was hidden behind his large hands.

“I’m a monster, Aeris.  You didn’t see them.  You didn’t see their faces.”  They forget what I am.  They forgot what I did, but I’ll always remember…

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Final Fantasy Friday: Practical Magic

Final Fantasy Friday

Forgive my terseness.  It’s been a rough week, and I just woke up from what I suppose could be called a sleep attack.  I usually have something elaborate to say before posing the question, but this week I’ll just ask…

What’s your favorite magic spell?


Ultima is always good for thinning the herd, and Holy is excellent for any shadowy ne’er do wells.  Of course there’s always Meteor or Comet if you want to rain down some fire from heaven (oddly enough, Meteor would be the opposite of Holy at least in FFVII, even though they both originate from the same place).

I suppose I don’t really have one favorite spell, but I definitely spam Ultima as much as I can in FFBE.

What’s your favorite or most used spell in FF?  And more importantly, which one would you choose to cast on your enemies *evil laughter* (Meteor)