The State of the Reader: 1/31/18

<–The State of the Reader: 1/17/18          The State of the Reader: 2/14/18–>

weekly post updated every other Wednesday detailing my current reading projects and what new titles I’ve added to my to-read list.  Title links go to Goodreads, and if you have an account there feel free to friend me!  I’d love to see what you’re reading and/or planning to read.

Books Purchased: 15

  • Witch Hunt on Crystal Lake by Brittany Batiste – $2.99 @ Amazon
  • The Trial by Franz Kafka – $0.99 @ Amazon
  • The Emerald Dragonfly by Shaun Hume – $0.99 @ Amazon
  • Evolution by Kelly Carrero – $0.00 @ Amazon
  • The King in Yellow and Other Horror Stories by Robert W. Chambers – $0.99 @ Amazon
  • Gods and Myths of Northern Europe by H. R. Ellis Davidson – $4.49 @ Amazon
  • The Arrival of Missives by Aliya Whiteley – $8.50 @ Amazon
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton – $8.69 @ Amazon
  • The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses by Johann Schiebel – $9.95 @ Amazon
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden – $11.35 @ Amazon
  • Modern Man in Search of a Soul by C. G. Jung – $8.95 @ Amazon
  • The Luster of Lost Things by Sophie Chen Keller – $10.20 @ Amazon
  • Saga: Volume 8 by Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples – $9.35 @ Amazon
  • The Fall of Lilith by Vashti Quiroz Vega – $2.99 @ Amazon
  • Paradox: The Nine Greatest Enigmas in Physics by Jim Al-Khalili – $1.99 @ Amazon

Yup, I bought a shit ton of books in the past month or so.  Those Amazon gift cards really came in handy.  I’ve already finished Witch Hunt on Crystal Lakeas the author asked me to a beta reading, but since I like to support fellow authors, bloggers, and friends, I bought it as well.  Obviously, I bought Saga (once I reminded it was out.  Thanks Ignited Moth!), and I’m probably going to read it next before I continue with the Death Note series.  The purchases were a mixture of eBook and physical (the less expensive ones are the eBooks), and I currently have a box of books sitting under my end table.

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Valiant Hearts: The Great War

More video game reviews can be found here.

Genre: Puzzle, Adventure, Educational
Developer: Ubisoft Montpelier Studios
Release Date: June 24, 2014
Platforms: PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Network (PS3), Xbox 360 Games Store, Xbox One

The cover of Valiant Hearts: The Great WarLet’s Player: Cryaotic

Some spoilers for the beginning.

“War makes monsters of us all.”
-George R. R. Martin “A Game of Thrones”

“I was never a hero.  That’s just how they justify war.”
Northern Lights

There is nothing great about war, but there is something to be garnered from its portrayal.  Inspired by letters found during the First World War, Valiant Hearts is nothings less than a a bittersweet masterpieve.

I actually wound up watching this game by accident; I thought I was clicking on Vandal Hearts, but even when the realization set it, I was already hooked.  Valiant Hearts: The Great War manages to be entertaining, funny, heartbreaking, and educational.  I learned more about the first World War than I ever did in history class.  I knew about the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (hell there’s even a street near me named after him), but I didn’t know about the treaties France had signed prior that drew them into the conflict, nor was I informed about what they did to their German residents, though I’m sadly not surprised.  It’s not without its precedence, nor have we presently learned.

Karl, a farmer living in the French countryside with his wife Marie and their son Victor, is forced to leave and return to Germany where’s he promptly drafted (like…seriously?  Why would you do that France??  Obviously any able-bodied men sent back are going to be conscripted!  I mean…I understand the “logic” behind it, xenophobic and paranoid as it is, but I don’t understand why they didn’t realize that someone like Karl would be loyal to the land where he and his family resided and ousting people like him from the country is a bad move since it only served to augment their enemy’s ranks *sigh*).  Not long after Karl’s forced departure, Marie’s aged father Emile is impressed as well, leaving the young mother alone to tend to the harvest and care for her son.

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The State of the Writer: 1/28/18

<–The State of the Writer: 1/14/18          The State of the Writer: 2/11/18–>

A biweekly post updated every Sunday discussing my current writing projects and any completed the prior two weeks.

Finished Projects: 5

  1. Final Fantasy Type-0 Game Review – 1/16/18
  2. Top 20 Books of 2017 – 1/21/18
  3. The Scorpion Rules Book Review – 1/24/18
  4. Ori and the Blind Forest Game Review – 1/25/18
  5. Shadows on Snow Book Review – 1/27/18

It was a productive two weeks.  Yeah…I’m surprised, too.

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,308
Prior Word Count: 259.474
Word Difference: +1834
Status: Revising
Progress: Chapter 2

I almost didn’t update this week, and that would really be a shame since I made some significant progress with my revisions.  I was able to integrate a huge chunk of my notes, and I believe I only have one or two more smaller ones to figure out, so I’ll be able to do a reedit with the new stuff soon.

Also, as much as I love Seph, I should be using more pictures of Aeris.  This is her story after all.  I mean she’s the titular character for Planet’s sake *hmph*


  • 2018 Gaming Plans – Not doing it.  I’d rather just do it instead of talking about it, savvy?

In Progress

  • Audio Recording – I meant to do this on Friday, but my voice hasn’t been cooperating.  I noticed when I stopped drinking coffee, it was better.  This is quite problematic, since coffee helps me…function.  It’s quite a dilemma.  I’ve significantly cut down on how much I drink, but I think it’s the milk/cream I put in it or my earl grey tea that does me in.  I’ll try to do the re-recording again this Tuesday.  There have been some other reasons it hasn’t happened, but those are more mental/personal.  It’s always something, isn’t it?  Suggestions are welcome.  I’ve tried tea with lemon and honey.  I actually like my speaking voice, not to be a…oh wait :p
  • Favorite Game Every Year I’ve Been Alive – Thank you iplayedthegame for reminding me I was working on this.  I don’t have a draft open on WP so I didn’t think about it.  I’ll think of a better title before I post it, but in an idea from The Well-Red Mage, it’s a project where you post your favorite games every year you’ve been alive (pretty self-explanatory from the title).  1980-1985 were the toughest in terms of finding games at all, but later years are challenging for other reasons.  Except for 1997.  No problems with that year at all 😉

Did I ask anything interesting last week?  I think it was just my standard closing statement, my…benediction as it were.  Of course I wish you all well and want to know what projects you’re working on!  This has been a rough week for me.  I haven’t been keeping up with my resolutions.  I didn’t update my Facebook fanpage for the second weekend in a row, though I did take some notes on what I will write, but that doesn’t satisfy the terms of the agreement.  Hearing about your accomplishments always gives me a boost though 🙂 ♥

<–The State of the Writer: 1/14/18          The State of the Writer: 2/11/18–>

Shadows on Snow by Starla Huchton (Flipped Fairy Tales #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: Shadows on Snow
Series Title: Flipped Fairy Tales
Author: Starla Huchton
Date Started: July 30, 2017
Date Finished: August 15, 2017
Reading Duration: 16 days
Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tales, Romance, Young Adult

The cover of Shadows on Snow by Starla HuchtonPages: 250
Publication Date: November 3, 2014
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Media: eBook/Kindle

Once upon a time, a dark evil crept into my kingdom, stealing my loved ones and the happy life I knew. The world turned against me, and I swore to become stronger, to keep myself safe.

Once upon a time, there was a handsome prince, hair dark as ebony, skin as pure as the freshly driven snow, and I became the only one who stood between him and death.

Once upon a time, our stories intertwined, and now, healing my heart may be the only way to save us all from the evil that threatens to destroy what little we have left.

I’ve always loved fairy tale retellings, so much so that I write them myself and infuse the all to familiar tropes in all of my works both fanfiction and original.  Starla Huchton has taken it upon herself to delve into terrain fairly well trodden in order to present the old in another new way.  Since this is the first of her stories I’ve read, I’m going off of assumption here, but it appears as though what she’s flipping is the gender of the participants.

The seven dwarfs are now seven sisters (who still manage to be princesses in their own right), the evil queen is an evil king, and Snow White is an ebon-haired, snow skinned prince named Leo who is a kind capable ruler that any man would be willing to follow and many a princess would want to marry, but he’s not the main character; the Rae is.

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Ori and the Blind Forest

More video game reviews can be found here.

Series: Ori
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer, Adventure – Fantasy
Developer: Moon Studios
Release Date: March 11, 2015
Platforms: PC, Xbox 360 Games Store, Xbox One

The cover of Ori and the Blind ForestLet’s Player: Cryaotic

Some spoilers for the beginning.

Ori and the Blind Forest is a beautiful Metroidvania game that had me weeping within the first ten minutes.  That beats Up’s record.

A screenshot of Pixar's Up with Ellie and Carl lying on a blanket in the grass

I was a mess five minutes later though.

The moment the game starts, you’re sucked into another world, and everything about it facilitates this journey: the painting-like scenery of forest, the ethereal music, and the instantly endearing relationship between Ori, who fell out of the Spirit Tree during a  storm, and his adoptive mother Naru who could’ve stepped straight out of a Miyazaki movie.

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The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow (Prisoners of Peace #1)

More book reviews can be found here.

Title: The Scorpion Rules
Series Title: Prisoners of Peace
Author: Erin Bow
Date Started: June 29, 2017
Date Finished: July 26, 2017
Reading Duration: 27 days
Genre: Science Fiction, Speculative Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult

The cover of The Scorpion Rules by Erin BowPages: 384
Publication Date: September 22, 2015
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Media: eBook/Kindle

The world is at peace, said the Utterances. And really, if the odd princess has a hard day, is that too much to ask?

Greta is a duchess and crown princess—and a hostage to peace. This is how the game is played: if you want to rule, you must give one of your children as a hostage. Go to war and your hostage dies.

Greta will be free if she can survive until her eighteenth birthday. Until then she lives in the Precepture school with the daughters and sons of the world’s leaders. Like them, she is taught to obey the machines that control their lives. Like them, she is prepared to die with dignity, if she must. But everything changes when a new hostage arrives. Elián is a boy who refuses to play by the rules, a boy who defies everything Greta has ever been taught. And he opens Greta’s eyes to the brutality of the system they live under—and to her own power.

As Greta and Elián watch their nations tip closer to war, Greta becomes a target in a new kind of game. A game that will end up killing them both—unless she can find a way to break all the rules.

The concept of children as bargaining chips for their parents’ cooperation stopped being strange (at least in young adult) after the debut of The Hunger Games, and many YA novels have risen out of the slush pile clinging to its coattails, but there’s enough of a spin on the paradigm in The Scorpion Rules to make it stand out.  Games are still played, but they are far more subtle than the Capital’s spectacle (though to be fair The Hunger Games is more about navigating the subtlety than it initially appears); however slaughtering children for their parents’ mistakes still fits within that same motif.  These futuristic dystopias showcase a potentially missable prospect: holding the future hostage to make us slaves to the past.  When you are willing to kill off the next generation in order to control the prior, it shows a distinctive lack of progress even in a technologically advanced world.  There is little hope in a regime whose best boast is that it can wipe entire cities off the map with ease.

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The State of the Gamer: 1/23/18

<–The State of the Gamer: 1/9/18            The State of the Gamer: 2/6/18–>

A weekly post updated every other Tuesday detailing my current gaming projects.  I have an account at Grouvee, which is a site you can use to keep track of your backlog, so please feel free to friend me there!

What I Played

Nintendo 3DS

Title: Etrian Odyssey V: Beyond the Myth
Series: Etrian Odyssey
Genre: RPG/JRPG – Fantasy
Developer: Atlus
Release Date: August 4, 2016

I’m on the third stratum now, lovingly called the Fetid Necropolis.  As you can imagine there are a lot of undead enemies, including these Zombie Mutts with spinning heads that give you Confused Needles if you kill them while they’re panicked (otherwise known as confused).  There are also Skeleswords, which are more annoying than terrifying.  They follow you around unless they come across a patch of light where they disappear.  I’ve spent a lot of time beating them, because they give you Rusted Swords, which are useful for upgrading Fencer weapons.  They’re irritating though, because you’ll often find them in a line, and you can get mobbed by them.  EOV is the only turn-based games I’ve played where you can be attacked by another enemy while you’re in the midst of a fight.  I can usually clear out a floor fairly quickly, but I’ve been wandering around the 12th for a while now.  I should hopefully find the stairs up to the 13th soon and more enemies with conditional drops.

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