The State of the Reader: 6/28/17

<–The State of the Reader: 6/21/17          The State of the Reader: 7/5/17–>

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. Knights of the Borrowed Dark by Dave Rudden: Kept – There’s a Harry Potter vibe to this story with the orphanage being a combination of Hogwarts and Privet Drive, and the dourness of that extends to the mien.  There are some really bad “people” after the protagonist.
  2. Cracked by Eliza Crewe: Kept – I’m a sucker for just dessert stories (I wouldn’t have written about an assassin who only kills the most reprehensible if I wasn’t), and that’s exactly what this is.  The main character has the Dexter like desire to kill, but only focuses it on those who deserve it.
  3. The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan: Kept – Books like this are the reason there’s no hard and fast rule about prologues.  Sometimes they’re integral in setting  not only the scene and mien, but also more subtle revelations about the world of the book.  Humans have found a way to exploit dragons for their literally blood, and what we’ve done to them is frankly horrifying.  This is all revealed in a report about a terrible accident involved massive loss of life.  However, it’s revealed more in the clinical details about the happening, reported as mere facets of information that upon rumination are quite disturbing.  Terms are sanitized: calling dragon blood “product’ as it is “harvested” for a corporation, and when the dragon manages to escape, there is mention of the cauterized stumps of its wings and how it was robbed of its ability to breathe fire.  Stories like this set up a reckoning that humanity is never prepared to answer.
  4. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare: Kept/Library – I was pleasantly surprised by this was, though the person who recommended it did tell me it was a bit different from The Mortal Instrument Series, which I couldn’t stand.  It takes place in the same world, but Clare’s work seems to have matured.  I’m genuinely interested in where this one’s going and the main character Kit’s involvement in it.
  5. Keturah and Lord Death by Martine Leavitt: Kept (RWTR) – Tell me a good story and you’ll instantly draw me in.  Keturah’s stories are certainly worthy of Death’s attention, and the reason why he spared her is exceedingly clear.  The sample for this ended far too soon for my liking and is currently on my to-buy-next shelf.
  6. Sheepfarmer’s Daughter by Elizabeth Moon: Kept – First book in The Deed of Paksenarrion series, and I’m very impressed.  I love Paks’s character, and I’m curious what she did to cause her father to change his tune about her as plainly shown in the far future prologue.  She refuses to accept the choice her father made for her (against her say so) to be married to a pig farmer, so she up and leaves, walking 30 miles in a day to join a military unit that accepts women.  I like that the man who becomes her commanding officer doesn’t seem to care a wit that she’s female.  He’s impressed that she walked 30 miles in a day to join up, is strong, knows how to march, and follows orders.  He also doesn’t take nonsense from any man in his unit that attempts to shame or vocally leer at her because of her gender.  I think I’m going to enjoy this novel/series.
  7. The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton: Kept – This is one of those books I saw for years in bookstores, but it never caught my interest then.  Now, it’s both disturbing and intriguing.  The beginning is so vague and yet so horrifying in partially explaining how the ill-made mute became that way.  He’s not really ill-made at least naturally, and I don’t think he was always a mute.
  8. Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence: Passed – Reprehensible protagonists just aren’t my thing.  I’m assuming he becomes more sympathetic later on in the story, but the leader of a band that murders villagers and rapes their daughters just doesn’t do it for me even if there is a major Heel Face Turn at some point.
  9. The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias: Kept – I love creepy, religious centered fantasy where people sell their souls or make a deal with the devil.

Books Purchased This Week: 0

Books Finished This Week: 2

Title: Saga, Volume 6
Series Title: Saga
Authors: Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples
Date Added: June 11, 2017
Date Started: June 17, 2017
Date Finished: June 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 5 days

The epic continues, but I’m not sure how I will when I finished the 7th and last one that’s currently out.  It’s a long time until January 2018.

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 28

Day 1

<–Day 27                                                                                                                Day 29–>

Day 29: Favorite video game developer.

It is with intense annoyance that I have to say Square Enix or as I like to call them Squeenix.  Beginning as Squaresoft, the company nearly became defunct and on the verge of declaring bankruptcy back in the 80s when they released what they thought would be their last game, aptly titled Final Fantasy.  Fortunately for them (but unfortunately for avoiding irony), the title was a huge success and not only for saving the company, but also defined/redefined the genre of (J)RPG.

More than thirty years later, now as Square Enix, they’re still going strong at least in terms of still being active and relevant.  I believe a good fan should also be a good critic, and I have been quite critical of some of Squeenix’s decisions.

This. They decided to make this into a VR game.

But like Nintendo, we keep getting caught…hook, line, and sinker.

I’m so sorry…

Though I do have to admit, I’ve fallen victim to the fad of judging based on other’s accounts, which is what I did with Final Fantasy XIII.  I’ve never played it, but not long after it came out, I hopped on the bashing bandwagon due to listening to people whose opinion I thought was worth something, since they, too, were huge Final Fantasy (especially VII) fans, but I should have known better, based on the derisive things they said about Final Fantasy IX  Thankfully, I’ve met people (and one specific person) who’ve shown me the error of my ways, and though I’ve yet to play XIII, I’m at least going to give a chance.  You’d think by this point in my life I would’ve learned not to judge things entirely on other’s opinions until I try them myself, but that pesky “J” in INFJ likes to rear its head in all instances even when it is most inopportune.

I love to judge, but I need to make sure when I do so, I have all the facts.

So while Squeenix might annoy the hell out of me at times, I still have to begrudgingly admit that they’re my favorite developer.

Honorable mentions to Nintendo and BioWare.

Who is your favorite developer?  Do you have as complicated a history as I do with mine?


The State of the Gamer: 6/27/17

<–The State of the Gamer: 6/20/17          The State of the Gamer: 7/4/17–>

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!
Original source of the banner art is located here.

Currently Playing: 4

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 1

I didn’t wake up early enough on Sunday to play this, so I haven’t logged any more hours on the game this week.  I’m off Monday and Tuesday of next week for 4th of July, so I’m sure I”ll get some 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: Abandoned ship yard

I was wrong with how Faris’s secret is revealed!  I’m just going to tell you, because it’s not that big of a deal, and I like some of the dialogue around it.  Faris is a woman, and I thought the big reveal would happen when they went through the canal, and the monster therein attacked them because it only attacks women.  Then I remembered that Reina is in the group, so even if the attack did occur (which it did as part of the plot), it really wouldn’t matter.

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30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 27

Day 1

<–Day 26                                                                                                                Day 28–>

Day 27: Most epic scene ever.

I’m sorry.  You know I have to mention one of the most iconic scenes in video game history:

It’s epic for the fact that like Aeris, none of us saw that coming (I’m a terrible person), and the fact that to this day, the rumor mill spins with ways to bring her back and hopes that the Remake will allow it (I really hope it doesn’t).

I was also blown away by Midna’s reveal at the end of Twilight Princess:

I was as dumbstruck as Link.  Though he’s ever the silent protagonist, I think his inability to speak was due to finding the Twilight Princess was even more beautiful than Princess Zelda (imho).  This one is more on my personal epic scale; though I’m sure many of you would agree with me about it, I don’t know if it will wind up in the annals of video game history like FFVII will.

Epic is a subjective term, though there is a cultural consciousness about it.  What one person might consider epic, another might think is mundane, while some things foster a general agreement   The original definition of epic pertains to a long, poetic composition usually centered upon a hero in which a series of great achievements or events is narrated in elevated style.  Going by this both Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda could be considered epics in their own right, because what are these games but long compositions centered upon heroes where a series of great achievements/events are stylistically played out?  This definition extends to all manner of video games, so even though epic is a specific idea, what one considers epic can be both ubiquitous and intensely personal.

What video game scene wakes your epic sensors?  Do you go by the standard definition of the term or your gut emotion in this determination?


Silent Child by Sarah A. Denzil

Warning: Discussions of imprisonment and sexual assault on a child as pertains to the story.

Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Date Added: March 13, 2017
Date Started: May 26, 2017
Date Finished: June 9, 2017
Reading Duration: 14 days
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Crime Drama

Pages: 416
Publication Date: January 22, 2017
Publisher: Self
Media: eBook/Kindle

In the summer of 2006, Emma Price watched helplessly as her six-year-old son’s red coat was fished out of the River Ouse. It was the tragic story of the year – a little boy, Aiden, wandered away from school during a terrible flood, fell into the river, and drowned.

His body was never recovered. 

Ten years later, Emma has finally rediscovered the joy in life. She’s married, pregnant, and in control again…… until Aiden returns. 

Too traumatized to speak, he raises endless questions and answers none. Only his body tells the story of his decade-long disappearance. The historic broken bones and injuries cast a mere glimpse into the horrors Aiden has experienced. Aiden never drowned. Aiden was taken. 

As Emma attempts to reconnect with her now teenage son, she must unmask the monster who took him away from her. But who, in their tiny village, could be capable of such a crime?It’s Aiden who has the answers, but he cannot tell the unspeakable.

This dark and disturbing psychological novel will appeal to fans of The Widow and The Butterfly Garden.

Silent Child tells the story of a parent’s more fervent prayer answered after their worst nightmare, but with complications.  While Emma Price’s son Aiden is returned to her after ten years, he is far different from the energetic, little boy whose red jacket was fished out of the flood swollen river.  Stricken with psychological mutism, his body tells the tale of imprisonment and sexual assault that he can’t bear to utter.

Continue reading

30 Day Video Game Challenge: Day 26

Day 1

<–Day 25                                                                                                                Day 27–>

Best voice acting.

The Mass Effect Series.  When I first watched my husband play it, he did so with the male Shepherd, and I thought his voice was okay.  Then I watched it with Fem Shep and oh my lord, Jennifer Hale.  There’s just no comparison.  How anyone could play that game without picking Fem Shep is just beyond me.  Not that the guy is terrible, but her voice acting is just far more superior.

The entirety of the series is just peppered with amazing voice acting.  I mean they got Michael Dorn to voice a krogan and Marina Sirtis as Matriarch Benezia (an asari).  There’s also Claudia Black as one of the quarian admirals.  I’m not as familiar with her unfortunately, but her voice is gorgeous. There are parts of the games I go back to just for the sole purpose of hearing certain lines, because they’re that good.  The people they tapped for voice work were just perfect matches for whom they were portraying in the situations they found themselves.  Absolutely brilliant.

What game do you think has the best voice acting?  Who is your favorite voice actor in a game?

The State of the Writer: 6/25/17

<–The State of the Writer: 6/18/17          The State of the Writer: 7/2/17–>

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
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 267,254
Prior Word Count: 267,565
Word Difference: -311
Status: Editing
Progress: 3rd edit of Chapter 10

Sephiroth by TeavyR

When I finished the second edit, I realized I didn’t like the pacing of the chapter.  Something was off.  It was too long, too drawn out, too…something.  I created an outline as I’d said I was planning last week in order to organize my thoughts and figure out what the chapter is supposed to accomplish.  I won’t know how much it’s helped until I reedit and reorg then do yet another edit afterwards.

Right now I’m at a part that I need to change, and it’s amazing how something so simple as Sephiroth not taking off his coat can be complicated in writing.  You have to make sure the text following takes that into account, and anything you miss could cause confusion or give away the fact that extensive changes were done.  Even though we all know writers spend a great deal of their time editing, that being evident in the text breaks the illusion necessary to suspend disbelief.

Quote: I always wear a coat with lining whenever we go anywhere.  In case you grow cold or are tired or frightened, I can just wrap you in this.”

Project: Book Review
Title: Silent Child
Author: Sarah A. Denzil
Status: Drafting

I’m deciding whether or not I’m going to do this review like I did the one for The Light of the Fireflies, where I split it into two parts.  The first is the spoiler free review, and the second is where I have to spoil it to talk about specific points.  I may be able to say what I need without doing the latter, but I’ll figure that out for sure when I have time to work on it again.

Project: Book Reviews
Title: Various
Status: Planning

I’m still five reviews behind even though I’ve completed or started two since my last weekly update.  Saga: Volumes 4-6, A Court of Mist and Fury, and Half a King.

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: 6/18/17          The State of the Writer: 7/2/17–>