Never Never by Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher

Title: Never Never
Series: Never Never
Authors: Colleen Hoover & Tarryn Fisher
Date Added: August 26, 2016
Date Started: July 20, 2017
Date Finished: July 30, 2017
Reading Duration: 10 days
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Romance

The cover of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn FisherPages: 326
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Publisher: Hoover Inc.
Media: eBook/Kindle

 “How odd to be made of flesh, balanced on bone, and filled with a soul you’ve never met.” 

Charlize Wynwood and Silas Nash have been best friends since they could walk. They’ve been in love since the age of fourteen. But as of this morning…they are complete strangers. Their first kiss, their first fight, the moment they fell in love…every memory has vanished. “I don’t care what our real first kiss was,” he says. “That’s the one I want to remember.” 

Charlize and Silas must work together to uncover the truth about what happened to them and why. But the more they learn about the couple they used to be…the more they question why they were ever together to begin with. 

“I want to remember what it feels like to love someone like that. And not just anyone. I want to know what it feels like to love Charlie.”

My first impression of this novel broken in three was of amazement.  Charlize or rather Charlie and Silas have no idea who they or their families are, nor do they have a clue what happened to them to cause this.  Through a series of events, they both realize they’re in the same boat and try to figure out what the hell is going on and why they’re in this situation.  Attempting to both solve the mystery of their memory loss and keep anyone from realizing it’s occurred would be daunting enough, but they also must navigate the social travails of high school, family life, and the fact that there’s bad blood between Silas and Charlie’s fathers.

Continue reading

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #2)

Title: A Torch Against the Night
Series: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Date Added: June 7, 2017
Date Started: July 12, 2017
Date Ended: August 23, 2017
Reading Duration: 42 days
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian, Young Adult (YA), Romance

The cover of A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirPages: 452
Publication Date: August 30, 2016
Publisher: Razorbill
Media: Paperback

Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

“So long as you fight the darkness,
You stand in the light.”

The second installment of Elias and Laia’s saga is just as compelling as the first.  The stakes are even higher, the perils more vast, and not even once believed allies can be trusted.  The soldier and the scholar are joined in their point of view chapters by Helene, whose duties as Blood Shrike threaten to rip her apart as they cannot coexist with her loyalties to her once best friend and brother-in-arms.

While there are love entaglements in this series, they in no way diminish the narrative nor seem shoehorned in for the sake of its YA status.  Laia develops feelings for Keenan due to their mutual goals in the resistance, while Elias and Helene have always had their odd relationship due to being friends forever behind the Masks.  Oddly the strongest bond is the most star-crossed in Elias and Laia, which forces Helene to acknowledge her feelings for him in dealing with her jealousy.

Continue reading

An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

TitleAn Unattractive Vampire
Author: Jim McDoniel
Date Started: July 27, 2017
Date Finished: August 22, 2017
Reading Duration: 26 days
Genre: Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Humor/Satire

The cover of An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDonielPages: 309
Publication Date: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sword & Laser
Media: eBook/Kindle

Jim McDoniel’s debut novel, An Unattractive Vampire, is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile—also known as the Curséd One, the Devil’s Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors—awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he’s just too ugly—modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. With the help of pert vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?

An Unattractive Vampire begins as a cleverly tongue-in-cheek novel with a similar silliness and satire to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, seamlessly steering your sympathies towards an unholy monster and its last remaining followers.  A subversion of a subversion, the story takes the new(ish) idea of the beautiful, more modern vampires and makes it absurd with the introduction of the Nosferatu-like Yulric Bile, who’s been entombed beneath a garishly pink painted house for 300 years.   Of course in looking at the history of vampires, the beautiful types are absurd, as well (from a historical point of view), but when a paradigm exists for a while it becomes the norm, so the idea of an ugly vampire is not only outlandish, but also obscene.

Continue reading

Final Fantasy A Crystal Compendium – Final Fantasy Friday: Final Fantasy III Review

This article is part of a community-wide project about Final Fantasy. Links to other articles in this series, written by the other contributors can be found in the main hub area.

<–Final Fantasy II Review                                           Final Fantasy IV Review–>

This is part of my extraordinary long-term project to play and review/analyze all of the officially numbered Final Fantasies in order.  I will play the original game whenever possible, but since the series goes back to the 80s and since some of the earlier games are unavailable, I occasionally have to bend this rule.  Whenever possible, I will play the original version or the closest I can get to it (whether that be emulator or re-release on a newer system).  If I have no way of obtaining the game or time constraints, I’ll watch a Let’s Play, but I’ll try my hardest to get a portion of gameplay in so I can remark upon it.
After all of the original numbered games are played, I plan to go back and play the sequels and remakes e.g. Dawn of Souls, The After Years,  Crisis Core, etc.  I’m also planning on playing/replaying the Chrono Series and reviewing that, too.
The reviews are housed here and each installment will be updated as I finish it.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy!

Greetings, salutations and Happy New Year to you all.  I am slowly working my way through the Final Fantasy titles and have recently completed the third installment.  I have been giving much thought to going back and playing the re-releases of I and II especially since I received a $200 Best Buy gift card in addition to a $50 Amazon one and could conceivably purchase both the system I might need and the games, but I’m still in the thinking phase, and today I’m in the review one for III. So…

Each review shall be in three parts, and in three parts shall be each review. Game play and music and best of all story shall all be discussed for you. So for now I present the second without any further ado…

Like FFII I was unable to locate the original Japanese cover

Continue reading

The State of the Writer: 2/11/18

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

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

Finished Projects: 2

  1. Valiant Hearts: The Great War – 1/30/18
  2. Red as Blood and White as Bone by Theodora Goss – 2/3/18

Project: Story
The Broken Rose
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Type: Fanfiction (FFVII) Novel
Current Word Count: 261,484
Prior Word Count: 261,308
Word Difference: +176
Status: Revising
Progress: Reviewing Chapter 2

Fanart of Sephiroth holding a swooning AerisI finally finished my revisions of Chapter 2 and now I’m in the reviewing process.  This was a tough week including the weekend in terms of the time and tiredness factor, so I was only able to review Chapter 1.  Here’s hoping next week is more productive.

In Progress

  • Audio Recording – I recorded the second part of the essay in question on Friday as planned, though my voice still failed me after about a half an hour.  Either way it’s done so I need to edit it.  I’m hoping my slower reading sounds better than the prior one.  I’m probably going to try to finish recording the rest of it before doing the full edit.  I have the parts with the video comparisons to record.
  • Favorite Game Every Year I’ve Been Alive – I’m in the 2010’s now.  Hoping to finish figuring out the games this week so I can start the post.

I think this may be my shortest update post of them all.  I really want to get the Game of the Years thing posted.  Why do I do these italicized afterwards?  Is it supposed to be a wrap up/summary?  I have no clue, but I’m going to keep doing them 😉  What have you worked on lately?  How is February treating you?  I’m ordering cupcakes for Valentine’s Day, because I use it as an excuse to eat cake and drink wine…not that I need one.  What’s your favorite kind of cupcake?  What type of wine do you prefer?  I think I might go for some champagne cupcakes and make this champagne mimosa drink I saw on Facebook.  I’m also seeing a rheumatologist that day, which is a good thing.  Okay, I’ve rambled long enough.  Let’s chat in the comments!

<–The State of the Writer: 1/28/18          The State of the Writer: 2/25/18–>

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.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading