music review · review

Music Minute | The Untamed on the guqin and flute

This particular arrangement is from the Chinese drama, The Untamed, about two young men who are “cultivators” or magic users charged with the protection of their communities from the forces of evil. Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji are unlikely friends, but together solve mysteries that eventually unveil a much larger plot to subdue all cultivators and control the world!

This song is played many times throughout the series and is so perfect for these two characters. Lan Wangji playing the guqin (a traditional, seven stringed Chinese instrument) with Wei Wuxian accompanying on a Chinese flute.

Have a listen and, if you like this song, maybe check out the show? It is currently available on Netflix and Rakuten Viki, which is where I watched it because I enjoy watching Asian dramas, lol.

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Blog | I’m a Gamer Girl (Streaming on Twitch)

I started taking my Twitch streaming seriously this year, mostly I think because of how isolating 2020 has been with the continued restrictions and never ending lock downs.

Even though I was one of the lucky ones who was able to continue going to work every day, I spent Monday thru Friday from 9am until 6pm in a windowless office with my door closed and next to no human interaction. That might have been worse on my state-of-mind than just being told to stay home, honestly.

But enough about depressing stuff! Back to the stream…

Mainly, I stream two things: gaming and knitting (though I’m branching out into crochet fingers crossed)

Knitting streams have music and conversation, sometimes some tips and tricks that I’ve learned, and just a general good time. These tend to last the longest, because I like to either finish a project or make some serious progress before calling it quits, lol… this has led to a number of way-too-late nights, but it’s hard to regret such a thing when I’m having so much fun!

As for the gaming? Well, I’ve streamed all kinds of games but am currently focusing on Final Fantasy XV and 7 Days to Die which I play with my brother on a multiplayer map. I really enjoy being able to share games that I fell in love with and to just ramble on and on about the different canon and fanon bits of lore that I have rattling around in my brain, lol.

If you’re looking for a laugh, I’m pretty sure that my evil cackling when I summon Ramuh to strike down my enemies in Final Fantasy sounds absolutely, hilariously deranged.


What am I hoping to accomplish with this, you may ask. Well, my goal is to reach Affiliate status in the next few months, so I’m working to build my following and encourage people to hop in the chat and have conversations with me… What can I say? I like to talk with people. 😛

To that end, I’ve decided that if I can get to 25 followers before my October 22nd Birthday, then I will do a “Spooky Halloween Weekend Stream” and let my followers decide what I’ll be playing! This is especially nerve-wracking because I don’t play horror games. Like. At all.

I’m sure it will be a fun evening for all and I plan to have one scary game and one fun-scary game, so I can take a break from the terror inducing title that is chosen for me to play, lol. Here are just some of the titles that have been suggested to me…


Do you enjoy scary books or games? Why or why not?

blog · book review · review

Two Book Tuesday

I continue to struggle with some writer’s block in regards to blogging, but I have hope that it’ll work it’s way out of my system. It strange but it seems as if the more my brain works, the less ability I have to put thoughts into writing.


I’ve only just begun listening to The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd, but a chapter in and I’m already interested in where the story will go…

I first learned about indigo dye by way of Japanese indigo, or aizome, a number of years ago and found the topic to be absolutely fascinating!

What is really cool about The Indigo Girl is how such a young woman was able to use both her intellect and the resources around her to make an impact on history. Being a “northern girl,” it’s only been in recent years that I’ve taken an interest in biographical material on Southerners other than major historical figures or entities.

From what I’ve learned, what’s left of Eliza Lucas’ writings are a highly detailed look into the life of an elite colonial woman. I would love to get my hands on a reproduction of her letters. ❤

Eliza Lucas’ story is sure to be a good one and I look forward to sharing my thoughts in a full-length review as soon as I’m finished with it, lol.


I swear that I’m going to read Wesley the Owl even if it kills me to do it!

Truly, I’ve been trying to sit down and crack this book open since I added it to my July TBR list and it just keeps slipping away from me.

Owls are one of my favorite birds of prey and I’m really looking forward to reading about Stacey O’Brien’s life with baby barn owl Wesley. Y’all cross your fingers that I can actually read it sometime soon!

blog · book review · review

Book Review | Dawn of the Future by Jun Eishima

Title: Final Fantasy XV: The Dawn of the Future

Author: Jun Eishima

Publisher: Square Enix Books

Release date: July 14, 2020

Format: Hardcover

Page count: 400

Genre: Fantasy

My rating: ★★★★★


Okay, spoilers ahead and a LOT of rambling because
I HAVE FEELINGS ABOUT THIS!!!

Also, if you’d like to join in on the FEELS trip,
I live-stream FFXV on my Twitch channel, HERE.

All are welcome, though tissues will not be provided in the case of heartbreak.


The Dawn of the Future shows how rich the universe of Final Fantasy XV was meant to be. There was so much more to see in Niflheim and with Aranea and her band of merchs. Luna actually had a mission of her own and it was not an easy one, her mind and body were worn down by her entreating the gods to form a covenant with the chosen king.

The first part of the book deals with Ardyn and, while I have already played his DLC (which was the last to be released), the novel gave me a deeper look into where his mind was really at after being imprisoned in Angelgard for so many years.

His vicious nature almost makes sense, when you see all that he endured during his time as a healer and then was cast aside by the crystal because he’d taken care of his people and removed the scourge from them. That, and the betrayal of both his brother and the gods, is what set Ardyn on his journey to destroy all things related to the Lucis Caelum line.

Moving on to the second part of the book, we meet an entirely new character! Solara Aldercapt Antiquum, or Sol as those close to her call her, is eight years old when Niflheim falls to demons and the long night begins. She is the heir to the Empire of Niflheim, though her grandfather has kept her existence secret, which makes me wonder if he started to fear what Ardyn’s plans actually were and tried to protect his legacy as best he could.

Anywhos, Sol is rescued by Aranea and is raised by the woman as her own daughter, learning to fight and survive the long night and the wait for the chosen king. I really enjoyed this part of the book, because it shows more of Aranea’s caring side. You get to see a bit of this in the game, when you go on missions with her and see how she interacts with Biggs and Wedge, but Aranea clearly becomes an amazing leader and mother.

As you would expect from any child of Aranea’s, Sol wants to prove herself and show that she is capable of taking on solo missions. So, of course, she sneaks away from her watchers, Biggs and Wedge, to do exactly that. Which is when she meets Lunafreya Nox Fleuret…

As Oracle, Luna believes that the gods want only the best for Eos and the people who call it home. After surviving the attack on Insomnia, Luna continues her quest to speak with the gods on Noctis’ behalf, to ask them for their blessing for the chosen king so that he will have the power he needs to rid Eos of the starscourge forever.

What’s really sad about this, is that she succeeds! She manages to forge the covenant between Noctis and Leviathan in Altissia (where they were supposed to meet and be married) before Ardyn kills her. These two star-crossed lovers meet only once as adults and then are torn apart by forces greater than they could ever imagine having to face.

But that’s not the end for Luna.

Oh no, Bahamut has grander things in store for her, as he resurrects her near the time Noctis is to be released from the crystal and informs her that she is now to face the Accursed. Without question, she obeys, fighting demons as she travels with her new friend, Sol, towards Insomnia and the seat of Ardyn’s power.

As their journey continues, Luna experiences visions of the first Oracle and her ancestor, Aera, who tells her that things are not as they seem and who pleads for Luna to save Ardyn from himself and the cruel fate the gods have in store for him.

Luna begins to wonder if all of the gods have the best intentions.

Turns out, Bahamut is tired of dealing with humans and their free will and wants to destroy them all, leaving Eos a destroyed wasteland. He’d previously attempted this with Ardyn as his pawn, but was unsuccessful and lost control of the Accursed (and so had him imprisoned by his own brother on Angelgard).

Needless to say, Bahamut is not successful this time either. Luna learns of his plans and chooses not to follow them, Ardyn is his typical self and doesn’t do what anyone expects of him, and Noctis and his friends continue to fight even when the odds are stacked against them.

In the end, when dawn breaks, Luna, Noctis and crew, Sol and her family, and the survivors of the long night are greeted by the sun and the chance at a new, more prosperous life.

Ultimately, my takeaway from this novel is that the Final Fantasy XV story actually exists across multiple alternate timelines. This can be seen in the DLC Episode Ignis and which is even more noticeably in this novel. I think it’s an interesting position to take, where the ending in the main game isn’t the only ending out there. Noctis and Luna don’t have to die, Ardyn can be redeemed, and Bahamut gets his butt kicked… these are all things I can get behind, lol.

Fandom has a mechanism in place for this, the “Everyone Lives, Nobody Dies AU”, but it’s not so often that the actual creators offer the same. I’m just sad that we didn’t get to see the final three DLC released for this game.


Find it at…

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Blog | I’m a Gamer Girl (Crowdfunding Games, part 1)

I’ve long been a fan of crowdfunding projects and have supported a number of really cool things throughout the years. From a book shaped light created by Lumio to solar powered roads currently in the testing and research phase by Solar Roadways, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing many a crowdfunded project go from an idea to a reality.

Crowdfunding is a great way to build excitement for your project AND lets your community of fans come together to support you! Here are just some of the games that I’ve supported in the last year and I’ll share the others when it’s closer to their release dates…

ArchRavels is a fiber artist’s dream of a board game!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I love a good board game AND I also happen to love knitting and all things yarn (which you might have guessed, lol).

From the super cute yarn tokens and yarn bowls to the project cards and character sheets, ArchRavels is full of bright, colorful imagery. Played with 2-4 people, it looks like a super fun way to spend an evening hanging out with friends. I know for a fact that I will be ‘convincing’ both friends and family to play with me!

In some ways, it reminds me of games like Sorry (with it’s bright palette) and in others it’s a little bit like Life (because you have to keep track of important aspects in order to win). And speaking of winning, once all the projects have been completed, you count up your points and the player with the most wins!

ArchRavels Kickstarter page can be found HERE with concept art, videos, and some behind-the-scenes for you to enjoy.

Estimated delivery date was August 2020. Due to the Covid crisis and it’s affect on manufacturing, this has been pushed back.


Book of Travels was suggested to me by one of my online gaming friends as something he thought I’d enjoy and he was right. I love everything from the art style to the serene sounding music and the prospect of a ‘chill’ online role playing game… though I’m not sure how many of my friends will also be interested in this type of game, lol. I guess that means I get to meet people and make new friends!

The developer and publisher of Book of Travels, Might and Delight, have made a number of other games (also available on Steam). I’ve played Meadow, the online successor to their Shelter games where you play as a mother animal trying to keep her small family alive. I really enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Meadow and that it doesn’t really expect anything from you. You can run around for hours, meeting other animal avatars, finding food and hidden statues, or just seeing the admittedly gorgeous views!

Here’s hoping that Book of Travels is even better and that Might and Delight continue to create these wonderful games for the world to enjoy.

Kickstarter for Book of Travels | A serene online RPG: HERE

Estimated delivery date: October 2020.


Another cutesy game I came across is Weaving Tides where you find different dragons to repair the textile world! Each carpet dragon is capable of performing different stitches and different attacks, so it looks like you’ll need to gather each of them in order to complete the game, but really… who doesn’t want to collect dragons?

The art in this game is exactly my style, it’s just so colorful and quirky! I like the way the backgrounds are actually made of weaved cloth and that you can see different types of stitching throughout the game. The carpet dragons have their own unique looks and abilities, but they’re all adorable and I can’t wait to see them!

One thing that I’m looking forward to finding out is why the player character seems to be the only human in the world of Weaving Tides. Will this be answered in game? Only time (and playing through it) will tell.

Kickstarter page for Weaving Tides: HERE

Estimated delivery date: November 2020.


What about you?
Have you supported any crowdfunded games?

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September TBR

Well, I’m back in school so of course my TBR should have at least three books on it! I’m getting back into classics, hence The Scarlet Letter, and found some really interesting nonfiction and historical fiction titles for September.

Wish me luck in both studying AND fun reading!!!


Nonfiction

Grace O’Malley by Anne Chambers

She was married twice, divorced once, took a lover when she wanted, and gave birth to one of her sons on the deck of her own ship. She was Grace O’Malley, the sixteenth-century Irish woman who provoked awe, anger, admiration, and fear in the English men who, by persuasion and by the sword, came to conquer the land of her birth.

She was literally “disappeared” from the pages of history, ignored by the official chroniclers and omitted from the great books of Irish and English history. Obviously, a woman who challenged the might of England and the traditional power of men — a woman who did not let religious, social, or political convention get in her way — could not be tolerated.

But Grace O’Malley could not be erased from the hearts of her countrymen. Granuaile became a beloved figure in Irish folklore, the subject of countless stories, songs, and poems (several of which are included in this book’s appendix).

Goodreads


Historical fiction

The Indigo Girl by Natasha Boyd

An incredible story of dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

The year is 1739. Eliza Lucas is sixteen years old when her father leaves her in charge of their family’s three plantations in rural South Carolina and then proceeds to bleed the estates dry in pursuit of his military ambitions. Tensions with the British, and with the Spanish in Florida, just a short way down the coast, are rising, and slaves are starting to become restless. Her mother wants nothing more than for their South Carolina endeavor to fail so they can go back to England. Soon her family is in danger of losing everything.

Upon hearing how much the French pay for indigo dye, Eliza believes it’s the key to their salvation. But everyone tells her it’s impossible, and no one will share the secret to making it. Thwarted at nearly every turn, even by her own family, Eliza finds that her only allies are an aging horticulturalist, an older and married gentleman lawyer, and a slave with whom she strikes a dangerous deal: teach her the intricate thousand-year-old secret process of making indigo dye and in return — against the laws of the day — she will teach the slaves to read.

So begins an incredible story of love, dangerous and hidden friendships, ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Based on historical documents, including Eliza’s letters, this is a historical fiction account of how a teenage girl produced indigo dye, which became one of the largest exports out of South Carolina, an export that laid the foundation for the incredible wealth of several Southern families who still live on today. Although largely overlooked by historians, the accomplishments of Eliza Lucas influenced the course of US history. When she passed away in 1793, President George Washington served as a pallbearer at her funeral.

Goodreads


Classic fiction

The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

A tale of betrayal, revenge, loyalty, and redemption, The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is a true classic. 

Hester Prynne settles in a little town in Puritan-era Massachusetts while awaiting her husband’s arrival from England. Hester becomes pregnant, exposing her sin in the eyes of the townsfolk. Her penalty: wearing an embroidered “A” on her bosom for the remainder of her life. 

When Hester’s husband arrives in the town anticipating a joyous reunion with his young wife, he instead begins a cankering quest to uncover the father of Hester’s child.

With The Scarlet Letter, Hawthorne became the first American novelist to forge from our Puritan heritage a universal classic, a masterful exploration of humanity’s unending struggle with sin, guilt and pride.

Goodreads


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TBR Graveyard

I’ve been meaning to weed my TBR list down a bit, but only recently did I actually sit down and get to work on this daunting project! Working a few at a time, I thought it might be fun to share the titles I remove and my thinking behind the removal thereof.

Enjoy!


Seven Stories About a Cat Named Sneakers by Margaret Wise Brown… Probably added to my list when I came across it while shelving books at my library. Not really feeling like reading kid books right now.

Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson… Same as above, discovered while shelving and just not interesting to me anymore.

Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood… Probably suggested on a listserv or newsletter asking for reviews. It’s been ages and I think it’s time to take it off the list.

Red & the Wolf by Kailin Morgan… Let me be entirely honest, here, I have NO idea why this was on my TBR. So, we’re going to remove it and carry on.

Struck By Lightning by Chris Colfer… Added when it was published and I was still interested in Glee.


Have you removed titles from your TBR?
Which ones and why?

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The Sunshine Blogger Award

Good morning to you all!

I was nominated by the wonderful Evelyn, of Evelyn Reads, for the Sunshine Blogger Award. Every time I see she’s posted something new, I have to hop right over and read it because she shares such great insights AND is great at convincing me to add books to my reading list, lol.

Evelyn always puts a big smile on my face. 😀


The Rules are simple:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the sunshine blogger award in your post/or on your blog.

Evelyn’s questions:

Do you ever feel second-hand embarrassment when reading? If yes, name a scene that really made you cringe?

I think this has happened a time or two, actually, yeah. I can’t think of a specific scene, but it’s usually when a male author is trying to write a teenage girl and, clearly, doesn’t know how they think or act, lol.

One example of this, and it’s still a REALLY good series, is The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. Such an amazing series, but there were moments you could tell it was a grown man, writing how he thought a teenage girl would behave/think/etc etc.

If you could have one item of clothing from a book, what would you pick? Be aware that any magical properties won’t transfer to our world.

Magical properties won’t transfer, huh? In that case, I think I’ll choose either a Silmaril (I know, bad choice) or a wand from Harry Potter. I know they won’t have magic, but they’d still be really cool conversation pieces!

What book would you love to see adapted?

Oh, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to see either Semiosis by Sue Burke or Down by Ally Blue adapted to the big screen!

What is your most recent book purchase?

Lol, actually I purchased three books for my mother’s birthday just last month! She’d been wanting to read some of the METRO books and I was really happy that I found them for her. 😀

What is your favorite bookish trope?

Magical libraries, I think. That, and probably soulmate stuff… LOVE soulmate stuff!

What is your biggest bookish pet peeve?

Price tags and damaged spines. Hate them.

What would you like to see more of in books?

I’m a sucker for found families and would murder to have more books with this… for now, I’ll continue getting my fix from fan fiction, lol.

What is the first book you ever read by yourself?

Had to ask my mother, lol, but it was the picture book adaptation of Walter Farley’s The Black Stallion. I really should have guessed that one.

Recommend a book that you think does not get enough love!

The Cure by Sonia Levitin is one of those books that never really lets you go. It comes back to you at the strangest of times and the impact it’s had on my life is crazy. I suggest it to just about every person I meet.

Do you loan your books to friends/family?

Most certainly! I love to share my favorites with my friends and family… if I’m lucky, they’ll get hooked as well, lol.

What is a post you’re proud of? (link it!)

I’m really pleased with my Knittering posts, where I get to natter on about my experiences knitting. 🙂


My nominations:

My questions:

  1. What do you listen to on your commute?
  2. Do you have any hobbies besides reading?
  3. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  4. What’s the last book you read?
  5. Do you prefer hardcover or paperback?
  6. What is your Hogwarts House?
  7. Do you agree with the Sorting Hat’s decision?
  8. Capes or no capes? (did you get that reference?)
  9. Do you have a song you associate with a book or book series?
  10. Given the option, would you live in the city or in the country?
  11. What’s your favorite flavor of ice-cream?