What’s New — August 2017

Howdy, everybody! How is it already August?!

Last month I feel like I got a lot of stuff done. I played Wolfenstein: The New Order. I read Sword of Destiny from The Witcher series (and totally loved it). I bought a new car. I picked up learning Spanish again. I started running again, in preparation for a 10K I’m doing in a few weeks. I had the flu for awhile, which made me a total couch potato for a week playing Persona 5 with my Kleenex next to me. (By the way, Persona 5 = best game ever when you’re home sick!) I also went to the movies more than usual, and saw Spider-Man: HomecomingDunkirk, and Valerian.

The only thing I didn’t do much of is writing, which was sort of my goal for the month of July. I had a Camp NaNoWriMo goal of writing for 30 hours over the course of the month, but I didn’t make it to my goal. I prioritized other things, which makes me feel a little disappointed in myself — but I did write a little, and I am on schedule to finish my book this year. I definitely feel good about where my sci-fi novel is at right now, I just have to make writing more of a habit. Ideally a daily one.

p5_bgIn August, I’ll be continuing to write — lots. I’m also going to a music festival, running my 10K, and hopefully making some time for Spanish practice.

I’ll also be more dedicated to my blog here! I know I took a little time off, which was totally unintentional. I guess I got a little writer’s block, and I was busy. But I’ll admit it was nice to take some time to just enjoy things without writing about all of them, playing Persona 5 for hours a day and going to the movies with my boyfriend. Sometimes you just need a break, and then you come back refreshed with ideas again! I love my blog and certainly have no plans to stop writing it, vacations aside. =)

What I’m Playing: Right now I’m finishing up Mass Effect Andromeda and continuing my Persona 5 obsession. I was really on the fence about whether to play Persona or Final Fantasy XII on PS4, but I decided to go with a new game. I like to play new stuff while people are still talking about it, because… what can I say, I’m easily swayed by hype! Although now I know a ton of people who have finished Persona 5 and are playing Final Fantasy XII, so… yeah.

Game_of_Thrones_finale_607_2What I’m Reading: I’m currently working my way through The Witcher series of novels. I’m halfway through Blood of Elves. I am also reading The Law trilogy by Joe Abercrombie, but I’m taking a break from it to focus on The Witcher for now.

What I’m Watching: Game of Thrones! I am a huge fan of Game of Thrones, so I’ve been eagerly awaiting this season. So far, it’s more action-packed than I expected, which I love. All I want in the world is to see Sam happy, Jon die heroically, Arya kill Cersei, and Dany take the Iron throne. That’s my wishlist. Let’s see what happens.

— Ashley

Getting to Know the Witcher in “The Last Wish”

At its heart, The Last Wish is a series of monster stories. The first book in Andrzej Sapkowski’s Witcher series (which CD Projekt RED’s video games are based on), it’s not so much a novel as a line-up of short stories that depict Geralt of Rivia taking on monster-hunting contracts. It feels like reading dark fairy tales, similar to The Bloody Chamber, and the reason is that the monsters aren’t all crazed animals or mythical beasts — they are usually regular men, women, and children who have been cursed.

I read the book a few years ago, when I first got into The Witcher video game series. After hearing that the series is going to be made into a Netflix show, I got onto a Witcher kick and decided to re-read The Last Wish and then continue with the novels that follow. I purchased the audiobook, which is excellent, although I think I prefer reading rather than listening to this series due to the depth of the conversations and world-building. This is a book full of details you don’t want to miss.

Continue reading Getting to Know the Witcher in “The Last Wish”

Reading “American Gods”: The Longest Road Trip Ever

This past month I finally read a Neil Gaiman novel. I’ve been wanting to read his work forever, as he’s a sort of mythic figure in nerd culture for his comic books, his work on Doctor Who, and his fantastical stories and books. I know a lot of people who are huge fans, so hearing that his novel American Gods was being made into a Starz TV series, I settled in to explore what might be the most famous work from Gaiman.

American Gods poses a fascinating idea: What if pagan gods were trying to survive in modern-day America? Immigrants would bring their beliefs from their original countries to the United States, and the gods would survive through people’s belief — however long that lasts.

So what if the goddess Bilquis (the Queen of Sheba) — a divine being who eats men alive as they worship her during lovemaking — lived in the United States today? And how would the ancient Egyptian gods fare, if they made their livings as modern undertakers? The idea that their enemies would be today’s media and technology — the things we American are currently obsessed with — manifests into exactly those kinds of new gods, like Media and the Technical Boy. So a war is brewing between the old gods and the new.

Continue reading Reading “American Gods”: The Longest Road Trip Ever

Why I ♥ “Cosmic Star Heroine”

This past month I have fallen in love with a little game called Cosmic Star Heroine. It’s a Kickstarter by Zeboyd Games, featuring 16-bit graphics and a conspiracy story set on another planet. Because of the retro art style and turn-based combat, I would recommend it specifically to gamers who enjoy those things. It’s not for everybody. But it feels made for me, and since it’s not a AAA title getting tons of attention, I want to make sure to share it with you all. Here are a few reasons I’m loving it so much.

Continue reading Why I ♥ “Cosmic Star Heroine”

What’s New — July 2017

July is a month I have been long awaiting, for a few reasons:

  • It’s Camp NaNoWriMo, so I can focus on writing my novel again
  • Final Fantasy XII is coming out on PS4, so I can replay it
  • A ton of good movies are coming out

Plus, days off for 4th of July and all that good stuff. =)

Last month, I played some more Injustice 2, started making my way through Wolfenstein: The New Order, spent a lot of time working thanks to E3 madness, and saw the amazing and funny Wonder Woman movie. This month…

Novel Writing

On the writing front, I have been pretty bad about keeping to a schedule lately. I’ve had a lot of ideas, so in general things are going in the right direction — I just need to make time to write. I’d blame a super busy work month, but there’s never an excuse for not writing!

In any case, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has a camp in April and July, which lets you group up with other writers online to encourage each other through the month. You set your own personal goals with this one. Mine will be to write seven hours per week. I’d say one hour per day, but I’m going to give myself the leeway to write a little extra some days and skip a day once in a while, depending on when I have time. Life happens, after all. But by the end of the month, with that much writing, I should feel like I made some good progress!

Final Fantasy XII

final-fantasy-xii-key-artI don’t need another video game in my life right now. I’m wrapping up both Mass Effect Andromeda and Wolfenstein: The New Order, I’m playing some Nex Machina co-op with my partner, and I’ve started a new playthrough of Dragon Age Inquisition that I’ll be chipping away at for the next little while here. I also have Persona 5 on my list of games-to-play. And Night in the Woods.

But… Final Fantasy XII is one of my favorite video games ever, and one of the first I played. The characters and rich settings are so stuck in my mind. I remember battling through tedious dungeons just to get to that next beautiful cutscene and unravel more of the story. I was in love with Balthier. It’s just such a magical game to me, I have to play it again now that it’s coming to the PlayStation 4. It’ll take me some time, but hey, video games are meant to be enjoyed. I can take my time. =)

Movies

Summer is known for blockbuster movies, and the ones I’m most looking forward to are Spider-Man: Homecoming next week, and then Dunkirk and Valerian later in the month.

I’ve started reading Valerian (specifically the comic tied to the movie) to learn about the characters and world. I love that it’s fun, over-the-top science fiction adventure, but with that underlying young romance. Maybe unrequited, which can be even better.

What’s everybody else doing and playing this month?

— Ashley

A Look at the Telltale Games I’ve Played So Far

I love video games with strong stories. It’s why I got into games in the first place — role-playing games like Dragon Age: Origins were my original obsession. Within a couple of years of starting to play video games (as an adult — late bloomer!), I heard about Telltale Games, a studio that created story-driven games in the manner of old point-and-click adventures…

Continue reading A Look at the Telltale Games I’ve Played So Far

SCIENCE FICTION, FANTASY, and VIDEO GAMES!