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House Keeping 10/16/18

I’ve fallen behind and behind and behind again. I’m trying not to call this a slump but I’ve been having a hard time digging into books that I’m excited for, much less actually getting the reviews written. Same for some of my other hobbies, there’s things I want to do with them I just can’t muster the energy to get to it. There’s any number of things that I want to get done and I’m planning on digging in on my next couple of off days to focus in on some of that.

That’s plans for my next couple off days though.

I kind of want to see if I can chunk some of what I’m doing into bits and pieces have something smaller to do regularly while I work through whatever this is. Short bits for the World of Darkness posts. Get back to reviewing the odd comic book. Something so that I don’t just sit here stagnating.

That’s going to be especially helpful the closer it comes to the holidays. Work is going to get more ridiculous than it has been. Past that, I’m wanting to get back to some kind of regular schedule.

I want to ramble about books again. So, I guess I’m going to try and do just that in addition to reviewing them.

In any case, standard stuff. If you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing you can support my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything from that is currently going towards a replacement video camera, I’m 3% of the way there. Regardless, have a great rest of the week!

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Ok, last one of these then the actual game posts will start. I’m planning on doing the game posts from my character’s perspective, so I wanted to do a sort of intro post with who and what the characters were. Also because so far Fritz hasn’t really been a names kind of character, what she’s likely to refer to them as.

So, quick break down:

Alessandra – cat shifter/returning character – Alessandra

Noni – racoon shifter/art student/drug dealer/returning character – Onesie kid

Ben Ayat – Luna Ayat returned to a humanish form – Ben, possibly Bennie

Amaya Ayat – Ben’s daughter – n/a just yet

Sariss – Sith grey Jedi vampire/nerd – the vampire/Sariss

Marie – Lucifuge hunter, dangerous hunter, lawyer? – Scary

Everett – luck mage, constantly high, tattered lab coat and gas mask – Gasmask or some variation there of

Lena – spider shifter, returning as an NPC – Spiders

Raven – one of the BS, mage, returning NPC – Goth

There’s also the rest of the team Fritz belongs to, they get referred to by their names, but the party has not yet met the Specter Ejectors.

 

I cut the last one because I realized that this had gotten really, really long. It was fun to write though.

Birmingham Saga part two, The Factory is where we start getting a lot of cross over to the current campaign, largely since most of the players are the same and we even have some returning player characters. It takes place five to six years after part one and starts with the party joining resident part time bear Three Fingered Joe, and his right hand opossum/ghost wrangler Bailey, in his campaign of vengeance against the local logging company. It started out kind of not great, due to a lack of actual fighting ability we nearly lost Rowena the raven shifter and her partner in bad decisions and resident trash panda Noni in the very first session. Word to the wise, silver is a werecreature’s bane, but regular bullets can still hurt them. The party quickly discovered that, beyond the Factory we had varying degrees of things in common, with  chameleon shifter Glass trusting not a single one of the rest of the group and thus avoiding socializing with them.

Thanks to a combination of equivalent amount of spiders Lena Spinne having connections with the city’s very own Birmingham Supernaturalists and being a regular at the local occult shop the party wound up finding out about a cult attempting to revive some ancient spirit known as Luna Ayat to wipe the supernatural out of the city. They tracked the cult to its meeting place, gathered as much information as possible before destroying what they could and leaving. This didn’t slow the cult down much though so Bailey, the Spinne, Glass, and magic cat Alessandra returning to hopefully put an end to the threat. Unfortunately for them, arson was not the answer and the spirit escaped possessing the cult leader’s wife and taking the cult leader with it.

So began the string of disappearances that would spur our protagonists to try and fix what they broke. College students were going missing with reports of an oddly dressed stranger being seen around campus.

Chasing that lead with a tip from the Birmingham Supernaturalists gave us a fantastic chance to see Rowena nearly get eaten by a spirit when she flew off after a mysterious voice telling her it had found her teddy bear. Given that Lena was distracted trying to chase down an NPC and that Rowena had flown through a grate too small for any other party member to get through, the epic battle against Mama was waged with thrown stones to break the raven out of her hypnosis.

It was a dead end to say the least.

At least it seemed like it should be, until the odd stranger tore the doors off the old mines that Mama dwelt in and started gathering power seriously. Enough power, we were told by the local mages, to destroy the city. Enough power that the Guardians of the Veil themselves were willing to let us know what was going on, since we seemed willing to fight it. Also because it saves them the trouble.

So we go back to the mines with a mage, Max, in tow. He burns the mummy baddy really well, but having been forced back to spirit form Luna Ayat escapes. Leaving the party tired, injured, and more determined to fight him off than ever.

More disappearances as anyone venturing into the mines fails to return. The party investigated resulting in the acquisition of one terrifying starvation monster that had been eating said people and Mama agreeing to work with Lena if she makes sure that the monster is taken care of. Lost children like Hannah can get into so much trouble if they aren’t looked after.

Then came the issue of the wrong wolf. A terrifying beast that wiped out the Moss Rock werewolf pack, leaving only their newest member alive because he panicked and ran. The return of Jonas, him having tried to join the werewolves after the previous party split and having been violently kicked to the curb for being a mere shape shifter rather than a true child of the moon. The party sided with him instead of the kid.

Then came the Buffys, the sorority of vampire hunters finally arriving to deal with the disappearances from five years ago. Their house mother turns out to be the BS’s leader’s grandmother and, getting ready to have dinner with Mrs. Asimi, Bailey is drowned by her own seeing eye ghost both dying and being sober for the first time in a decade.

Some kid started following Allie, leading to the party finding yet more hunters in town and discovering their plans. Which lead to larceny as the investigation party again collected all the information they could before deciding to take as many of the hunters’ weapons as they could. Also large prints of a raven flopping around their living room in ash after Rowena flew in through the chimney. Also also, Rowena nearly dying when the party stopped watching her for five minutes and she decided to play with matches and sliver bullets at the same time.

The kid’s family didn’t make it past trying to hunt Jonas since the party warned him first and brought back up. Mages are terrifying, Sophie thinks you should know that.

Luna Ayat showed up again, offering to help the werewolf kid kill Jonas in exchange for Jonas’ corpse. The party plus max showed up to fight a mummy only to find several. All of them armed with homemade guns with silver ammo. Max nearly died and a mid air battle was fought for his body featuring Rowena nearly dying for the fourth time, Luna Ayat being confused at her just not dying, and Lena anchoring the pile of near corpse, corpse, and bird to the trees. Surprisingly, no one died until our backs were turned and Jonas got himself killed attacking the werekid.

Things kind of snowballed from there. One of the Birmingham Supernaturalists, Raven, had awakened as a mage at some point during the story and got taken. The mummies left at her apartment seemed like a good lead. Though Sophie had also disappeared, having taken a number of things from the Guardians base/occult shop/coffee house. The party set it up with the Buffys for Hannah to serve as a watch dog at the sorority house, as it would leave her taken care of, tracked down the caves beneath Vulcan where Luna Ayat was hiding, and prepared for their epic final confrontation.

Which ended with him surrendering after gun powder stuffed spiders being detonated destroyed his entire army. Both the party and Luna Ayat discovered that Sophie had been playing them against each other the whole time, just as she melted the Vulcan over them. Exploding spiders once again came into play as the near by museum was destroyed to smoke her out and Sophie was curbed stomped by the vast majority of the party.

All this with no permanent deaths, despite Rowena’s best attempts, and Raven being recovered and woken with true love’s spidery spidery kiss.

Well, at least until glass tried to take out the starvation monster in frustration after we let Luna Ayat go.

They tried, they really did. But Hannah didn’t like being stabbed.

I’m finally getting around to writing this out three weeks into the current game. So, not too too far behind, but more than I would like. I think I’ve mentioned before, but this is the third campaign we’ve got for the same World of Darkness setting so there is a fair amount of carry over. Though most of that is from the last campaign since the original one was sort of off on its own. This is sort of a situation where back ground is helpful though, so let’s dig in.

So, Birmingham Saga part one was an all Changing Breeds campaign, everyone was a shape shifter of some stripe. There was Jonas the truly massive wolf were, Blane and Felina the cat shifters, Margaret the crow, and I cannot remember the rabbit’s name.

They wound up doing some work for a goat headed wizard before becoming the targets of a small cell of hunters, selling the wizard out to a vampire so that he would stop disappearing sorority and fraternity kids, and letting said vampire mind wipe the last of the hunters and take his family’s heirloom sword to save our own hides.

It sort of ended there and the characters presumably went their separate ways.

 

 

Fall Into Books 10/10

FIB-impatiently-waiting

This is the second easiest question I’ve answered during this challenge. What book am I most excited for? Most ready to read? Leg bouncingly impatient to check out?

In An Absent Dream cover

Not surprising in the least, right?

In An Absent Dream looks like it’s going to be another book going back to the world its protagonist visited before she wound up at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. So, something like Down Among the Sticks and Bones in that respect. It really only makes me want to read Every Heart a Doorway that much more because I think the protagonist for this one was introduced there. I want to see the end point and then the journey there.

January feels like a long way away.

House Keeping 10/9/18

I don’t have a ton to say this week. The last day of the Fall Into Books challenge is tomorrow. I’ve had a lot of fun with it and will probably sign on for another similar challenge at some point. It also makes me want to try coming up with a post for most days in addition to the regularly scheduled stuff.

Not sure how well that’ll turn out. But it might be fun.

As to anything else this week. I have things I’m working on and that I hope to have done in the near future. I’m working on figuring out what I want to do for Halloween.

I’ve got a couple ideas, but nothing solid. Nothing I’d be entirely happy to post about just yet at any rate.

And that’s about it! Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I’d love to know if any of you have read some of these books or are familiar with the authors or similar writers. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Right now anything I get through ko-fi is going towards a replacement video camera so that I can take another swing at doing video stuff for the blog as well as the standard book reviews. Have a great rest of the week!

FIB-recent-discovery

Please Dont Tell My Parents Im a Super Villan cover

This one’s a little delayed to be a super recent discovery, but I’ve been really enjoying Richard Roberts’ Please Don’t Tell My Parents series. The whole teen super villain trying to make her own redemption arc happen thing is interesting to me.

The characters are interesting, a mix of heroes and villains in a world that is very used to both, with Penny and her best friends Claire and Ray sort of plunked down into villainhood by an over aggressive sidekick looking for a fight. There’s a lot of fun to be had and, with book three expanding on some other supers, I’m interested in seeing what kinds of character interactions we can expect as the series continues.

I’ve only made it through the first three books at this point, but it is a series that I plan to follow for the rest of its run.

FIB-lovable-villians

Hey, remember that big post I had about how the SINless books are criminally underrated? Yeah, the character of today might be a big part of that for me. Heads up for spoilers for Nanoshock, they’re past the Spoiler.

Spoiler Alert

So, sometimes authors try to have a twist at the end with their antagonists. A character who was set up as an ally to the hero or as a protagonist in their own right turns out to be a card carrying member of team bad guy in the last ten pages. Sometimes they give the shocked protagonist a speech about how obvious it had to have been and how badly the protagonist must suck at heroing to not have realized. Sometimes it’s a motive rant. It seldom fits with their prior characterization.

Then there’s Muerte.

Muerte is something special where eleventh hour antagonists are concerned, largely because she’s incredibly well set up. It’s the kind of things that, on a first read, are really easy to figure are setting her up as a red herring. She knows too much about Riko’s situation. The deal she’s offering is way, way too good.

But wait, here’s a guy from that crew Muerte is part of and that Riko used to be part of and he’s got people trying to kill her. She kept running with Riko after Riko called her a traitor and shot her. She’s saving the team’s lives and being one of maybe three people willing to work with our protagonist.

She’s a bright bit of fun among characters dealing with serious conflicts.

It’s easy to let the lead up fade into the background and just enjoy the ride while Muerte jokes around and is a useful team member for team protagonists. She has information she shouldn’t have but she’s supposed to be one of the best fixers in world so, if someone else has it anyway, why wouldn’t she? Those faceless corp goons seem unduly afraid of her, she shrugs it off and plays it cool.

K. C. Alexander uses all these suspicious moments to build to a reveal that feels legitimately like a betrayal from a character that’s genuinely easy to like, an antagonist that I walked away from Nanoshock wanting to see get her own series.

So, yeah, Muerte. She’s wicked. She’s awesome. And she’s a ton of fun.

Fall Into Books 10/6

FIB-under

So, I’m running a bit late posting this. It’s been something of a nothing day.

That said, underrated books, I have so many words about that given that I tend towards genre fiction. But, the prompt is just asking for one book that deserves more attention.

What book would I ever pick?

Necrotech cover

I make no secret of how much I enjoyed Necrotech and its follow up Nanoshock. I have so many words to throw at you all about these two books because they are absolutely my cup of tea. I would read as many more SINless novels as K. C. Alexander cares to write.

These books are a thrill ride of violence and aggression that hides how vulnerable Riko can feel while she’s cut off from the people she used to rely on. They pack world building and character work into the vast divide between the shiny corporate world of Malik Reed and the dregs where Riko and the other runners dwell. The grand mystery of just what happened to those months Riko’s missing and what she did in that time. It’s all stuff that I just want to dig into and find what’s next.

Necrotech and Nanoshock are the kind of books that I finish and have a bunch of ideas that I want to talk to people about. Theories that I want to throw at the wall and see if anything sticks. Like, I’m excited again just talking about them.

So, if you get the chance to read Necrotech, take it with both hands.

Fall Into Books 10/5

FIB-favorite-authors

This is a hard one. Like, I can’t use favorite author as a recovery question because it changes pretty regularly based on what I’m reading at the time. So, let’s try to hammer down a top five four. That should be reasonably doable. Right?

So, in no particular order:

Seanan McGuire: I’ve been talking about Seanan McGuire’s books a lot lately, haven’t I? Her writing is aces the feel to it, whether leaning on folklore in Sparrow Hill Road or painting a picture of truly terrible parents in Down Among the Sticks and Bones, is great. She has protagonists who wouldn’t usually even be characters and this amazing work with the setting that makes it almost a character itself. It makes me really want to go back and read her October Daye books.

Tess Gerritsen: I admit, Tess Gerritsen makes this list almost as much for nostalgia’s sake as because I don’t remember reading a bad book from her since she swapped to writing thrillers. Even her romance novels weren’t bad, just very much a reflection of their genre and the tropes associated with it. So, not bad, just not for me. I’ve been reading the Rizzoli and Isles books since high school when I found a copy of Body Double in the basement and, since neither Mom or I could remember where it came from, figured it was as likely mine as hers and read it. Then I went back and found the first one at the Book Rack, The Surgeon, the Rizzoli and Isles book that wasn’t. It’s been a long ways since then. I still need to read I Know a Secret.

K. C. Alexander: The SINless novels, Necrotech and Nanoshock, have been something that I really, really want more of since chapter one. I’ve been wanting to talk about the end of Nanoshock since I finished it. And the way she handles her characters is both a treat and frustrating in the best way. Being right along with Riko in not knowing if she deserves the distrust from her former team or not, but still having to deal with the consequences of it, is pretty tops. I am still bouncing to find out what comes next and I’m going to do everything I can to find out, which in this case means backing her Patreon and reminding you all about how awesome her books are.

Robert Brockway: Somehow I missed Kill All Angels being released last December. But, I’ve reviewed and really enjoyed both of the other Vicious Cycle novels as well as his work on Cracked awhile back. The way he juggles timelines leads to interesting situations where both sets of characters learn a thing, but then the way they learn it or their reactions to that knowledge are vastly different. Plus, his character work is just fun.