Archive for March, 2019


8th of Spring, Year 256

Okay, right. So, a week of drilling with the militia dwarves and scouting around to keep an eye on that encampment and things went about as expected. About as expected with the unexpected absence of Eclair, her patron required her and there was nothing to be done about it.

We collected our allotment of militia dwarves and were able to head directly towards the Goblins. Neither Chonck, nor the elf, nor the militia are any good at being quiet so it had to be fairly head on.

The good news is, there isn’t a Goblin encampment any more. A few got away, but that’s a few. Bad news is, we made an absolute mess of the place and probably seem absolutely barbarous now. Chonck remains good at charging into things but not so much at stopping or turning around. Between his attempts to help and Azurei’s spells, there weren’t many bodies left in recognizable condition.

If we could get the Yoyabo Goblins grouped tight enough then Azurei might be able to take the lot of them out herself. She’s probably the most reliable magic user we have just now. Given that Eclair can be called away at any time and that the half-elf’s magic seems rather hit or miss. I don’t know that I want to take my chances there.

I find myself concerned about our ability to work as a team in the long term. Chonck and Azurei are both willing to work together. Eclair seems willing, but we haven’t seen much of her in the field. The elf though, the sarcastic rude half-elf, she’s going to be trouble. How hard is it to look for anything of use when it’s suggested? But no, the elf couldn’t do that and instead chose to gesture about at the destruction and mouth off. Never mind that we found what was left of another five Goblins and their provision stores in what was left of the encampment’s hut. Or that Azurei found orders papers. No, clearly there was nothing to search.

After that, I set the elf to searching each of the remaining Goblins. If she’s going to refuse to help and treat me like I’m being unreasonable, then why not set her to doing grunt work? Because she made a mess of that too. Apparently “search” in common is “walk around stabbing corpses in the backside” in elf.

Right. Anyway, the papers that Azurei found, someone calling them self “E” ordered the emcampment’s placement to send Caskfire a message.

Knowing that some one is trying to send Caskfire a message, is threatening the fortress, I feel less bad about leaving the encampment as destroyed as we did. Mixing the Goblin pulp into their remaining rations might have been going too far. But if it scares them enough to stay away that’s worth it. If that doesn’t work then we also have a number of Goblins staked up on javelins thanks to Chonck and the suggestion of one of the militia dwarves.

Send a message in response to a message.

We’re going to plant them out behind the fortress. Churt was worried about the corpses worrying the human ambassador who should be arriving soon if we put them out front. I can’t see Churt being happy about having to deal with humans, but that’s part of leading the expedition. If nothing else, cousin Throckmorton is used to dealing with human traders for the inn. He’s definitely going to help her with them, so things should go smoothly.

That said, with the humans here things will likely be quiet for the next while. At least unless our Mr. “E” sends Goblins after us directly. More later either way.

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Alright, so right after talking about being close to back to a schedule I’m late again. That’s all good though, it’s a day this time instead of months. This one was an enjoyable read for the most part, but it did feel a bit scattered. This one is courtesy of netGalley, here is John Dixon’s The Point. Enjoy!

The Point cover

Scarlett Winters is a screw up. A troublemaker. After blowing off her high school graduation and, unknowingly, the party her parents had planned for her she finds herself backed into a bad choice. Go to West Point, something she’s never wanted, or be blamed for a terrorist attack and be sent to jail. West Point isn’t what Scarlett expects though as she’s thrown in with other misfits. Other misfits with superhuman powers and backgrounds a lot like her own. Threats from the Point’s troubled past leave Scarlett with a choice, stay the same as she’s always been or buckle down and learn to control her ability to manipulate energy and help save the Point and her classmates.

I’m not entirely sure what to do with John Dixon’s The Point. Left to itself, the book is a bit of a mess that jumps between having really well done moments and leaving me wondering how it reaches certain points. This is largely a matter of character motivation feeling lacking or just strange. The Point itself feels like a good place to start.

The Point doesn’t entirely seems certain if it wants its military element to be a balancing force in Scarlett’s life or a force for negative over all. There’s a fair amount of talking up all the good being at the Point has done for Scarlett in helping her get a handle on herself and making her feel like part of something more than herself, at least in the second half of the book. But then the cadets of the Point were nearly all brought in as opposed to being incarcerated. All of them were forced to go through normal West Point initiation before inevitably losing their tempers and failing out. And they’re kept in line through threat of what amounts to literal torture in addition to hazing from older cadets. And we don’t really see much of Scarlett building towards feeling like being at the Point is a good thing. She spends time getting tormented by this one older Cadet and his flunkies, then her powers are finally triggered and suddenly she’s moved into a better room and being treated much better. She’s suddenly got friends and a degree of freedom if she sneaks out. It’s that combination that helps her start dealing with things at the Point, but not really the Point itself.

Nothing really progresses from there until the antagonists make a move. Then it’s go time, things are personal for Scarlett so she absolutely wants to figure out how to use her power to be allowed to fight these guys. And it feels disjointed here, because you have to wonder if Scarlett would have cared enough to get serious if it hadn’t been personal. But it’s like flipping a switch, that’s how the troublemaker who only just chose the Point over prison is brought in line. That’s how we get from Scarlett barely treading water to Scarlett digging in her heels and pushing herself further and further.

The characters are, by and large, static. Scarlett changes some, but it feels forced. It’s the same for the student that’s supposed to be mentoring her. The love interest starts off hating Scarlett for being given special treatment, but he’s so obviously the love interest that that hardly counts. But then, that’s about it. Her fellow cadets are at best sketches of characters.

I would have liked to see more of the antagonists throughout the book. Just, more of them building towards their plan and letting it feel as dangerous as it’s supposed to be. It makes it hard to care about most of what’s going on because the stakes feel non-existent. Like, in the very lead up to the final confrontation, we get told that the big bad is super powerful and amazing and the most dangerous man to have come out of the program prior to the Point being cooked up. Everyone is just super doomed. But the reader hasn’t really been shown how good this guy is, it was touched on at the beginning and then he just sort of disappears until the climax. There’s this big confrontation at the end. It’s huge and flashy, like summer blockbuster flashy, but the impact is lost because it’s just so out of place. It took me out of the book in a bad way with just how badly out of place and over done it felt. More than that, I found myself asking why I should care about the chaos that was happening.

So, conclusions here, The Point has some scenes that work really well but it has a number of issues with character work and pacing. I’m left feeling like this was originally meant to be the start of a series, but then Dixon changed his mind and just didn’t go back and account for that. I would have liked to have seen more done with the characters overall. I think I would have also liked to have seen more of Scarlett and her fellow cadets daily stuff rather than the romance sub plot. That said, I would read John Dixon again, which leaves The Point with a three out of five.

House Keeping 3/26/19

Keeping rolling. I’ve cracked open one of the books I’ve been sitting on and am really enjoying the concept of it and the writing so far. Soon I need to get my transcripts together to apply for classes, the sooner the better.

Running off from that for now. I’m on schedule to have a review on Wednesday, so hopefully I’ll be back to the old schedule soon. I’m probably going to see what I can do about reading some of my back log of books, both review copies and stuff I’ve bought. Fun stuff, fun stuff.

I’m back to where I’m enjoying reading and that is a massively good feeling.

Though, on the topic of fun stuff. While this week will have a Thursday post for Sunshine’s Journals, next Thursday probably will not. I’m going to have to work out what I want to do then. I’ve got a couple ideas though, it’ll just depend on what goes on.

Semi-related to that. Because I am fantastic at segues. Dice Envy has a new set of dice listed for their “Your First Set” dice. It’s a nice royal purple with gold lettering set. So, if you’ve been looking to get into Dungeons and Dragons or Pathfinder, give it a look.

I’m rambling a bit, but it’s all in good fun.

Quick heads up, the giveaway for an ebook copy of K. C. Finn’s Fallow Heart or Kell Cowley’s Shrinking Sinking Land is still running. You’ve got nine more days on that, and the rafflecopter can be found here.

And that brings us to the sign off. Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. I’m trying a few new things, so feed back would be awesome. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. Anything from that just now is probably going to go towards text books. In any case, have a great rest of the week!

Shamrock Dice

Check it out, I’ve got another set of dice to show you all. I ordered these a little late in the month but, I’m still excited for them. This set is a Dice Envy exclusive and you can find them here. On to the review though. Enjoy!

Shamrock Dice 1

Check it out, Shamrock dice featuring Celtic knots on the highest numbered sides and four leaf clovers on all the others. Exception given here to the d4 because d4 are a little odd.

I haven’t done a great job of capturing the color here, but I really love the green on green here. The main color of the dice is a sort of olive green with the numbers and decorations done in a lighter almost spring green. It’s a good combination that reads really well for rolling. The paint can be a little over filled on some numbers, but it still looks good.

Shamrock Dice 3

Now, something really interesting to me here is how the decorations are done. This is the first set of dice I’ve gotten where there’s anything other than the numbers engraved into them. So it feels a little odd to have the shamrocks engraved in as well. Since I’m not used to it it feels weird, but I do want to check out other dice that have engraved details. It seems like a nifty touch that would keep the decorations intact over a long time of play while also keeping the dice balanced.

Shamrock Dice 2

I’m definitely looking forward to playing with these. The look nice, they feel interesting, and I just like looking at them. So the Dice Envy Shamrock Dice get top marks. Five out of five.

Odd Voice Out Giveaway

So, my review of Fallow Heart went live yesterday. Here’s where the fun comes in for you guys. I’ve got an ebook copy each of both K. C. Finn’s Fallow Heart and Kell Cowley’s Shrinking Sinking Land up for grabs to two lucky winners. On top of that I’m trying something new, this time I’m trying out rafflecopter, so that means plenty of choices for entering.

Odd Voice Out Giveaway

The giveaway is going to run from today until April the fourth.

Since these are Ebooks winners do not have to be from the US. Though the winners will need to be comfortable with my sharing their email with Odd Voice Out.

So, check it out and have a great weekend!

I return! This is one of the books from Odd Voice Out’s Kickstarter back in December and I was lucky enough to be invited to review it. So with a big thanks to the awesome folks at Odd Voice Out publishing, here is K. C. Finn’s Fallow Heart. Enjoy!

FHcover2

Lorelai Blake was on the way to work when she was attacked by the creature with the massive antlers and breath that stank of rotting meat. She should have died. With something demonic growing within her and a murderer on the loose Lori will have to learn everything she can about what’s happened to her. Will she decide if she can trust the organization that supposedly treats conditions like hers, the DC, or if she should follow Kasabian, the mysterious fellow who seems to have escaped his demon? Something is stalking Lori, waiting to harvest her. Can she control her burgeoning demonic powers in time to find out what’s going on? Can she escape it?

K. C. Finn’s Fallow Heart is a solid supernatural story with some really nifty ideas. The concept of people being infected by demons, like it’s a cousin to lycanthropy, is particularly cool. Plus I like the idea of the various groups that are trying to deal with the demon problem.

That said, Fallow Heart is very focused in on its protagonist, so let’s talk about Lori.  A lot of the early stuff in the book involves Lori being bothered by the fact that she’s over weight, it affects her self esteem deeply.  She thinks of herself as being ugly a number of times. This is, in fact, something that one of the murder victims uses when he’s bullying her. It’s something mentioned in the blurb and I admit that I was concerned that it would be over used, but Finn did a really good job with it. It isn’t a constant thing, but does crop up when Lori is already second guessing herself. It isn’t the sole non-demon issue Lori has, and it doesn’t eclipse the other issues. It does make the bits where she’s clever and resourceful or confident, feel more solid. The balance makes Lori feel more real.

The flip side of the focus on our protagonist is that since Lori is out of her depth things can feel confusing or disjointed. We’re introduced to everything from Lori’s point of view and follow things with her biases. So if she isn’t interested in or can’t follow up on something, that’s not going to be explored. I’m hoping that a lot of what was introduced here will be built on in later books.

There’s some really good horror elements here. Finn does an excellent job with atmosphere. There’s this really good emotional feel for some of the places, a low creeping fear. I’m hoping for more of that too.

Honestly, the only thing I have an issue with is the ending. I’m not going to go into spoilers. It was just something that’s fairly common to stories that are billed similarly to Fallow Heart that I really hoped wasn’t going to be the end point. A thoroughly expected disappointment if you will.

So overall, I’m left with a really positive experience with Fallow Heart. I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the series and reading K. C. Finn again. It does lose a little for the ending just because I feel like more could have been done there within the theme. That leaves Fallow Heart with a four out of five. Check it out if you get the chance.

House Keeping 3/19/19

Alright, working on getting back to a regular schedule. I’ve finished the book I’ve been dragging my feet on. I’ve got my notes for the review jotted down. Now I’ve just got to stitch it all together and get a finished review out of it.

Nothing to worry about.

Any thoughts on the dice review? I had a lot of fun with that and definitely plan on doing more of those. Some for new sets, some for sets that I’ve already got, I feel like it’s going to be a nifty mix of things.

Plus it gives me an excuse to ramble about the shiny things.

I’m also planning on doing some test rolls with that set and posting that to Youtube. It’s a little goofy, but I feel like it’s easier to show how well a set of dice roll than it is to just say it.

I’m feeling good about getting things done just now. Going to try and get more work done on other projects I’ve talked about here. Trying to stop being all talk and get things done.

That said, we didn’t have D&D this past Friday, so I don’t have another entry for Sunshine’s journal. I do have a couple of ideas for a Thursday post despite that. One is part of something I’ve been dragging my feet on the last couple of months. The other is doing a little coverage of the game we did run on Friday. I haven’t done enough with it for a full review of the system, but I can roll through a little of it.

So, yeah, current goals are to get some of the things that I’ve talked about here recently done. That’s the “And Another Thing” articles, the reviews I’ve been twiddling my thumbs on, the box opening videos for the January and February Second Star Books boxes, and the reviews for those boxes as well. I’m really wanting to get those videos done, since that’s going to give me some experience with the video editing software I’ve got. They may not be timely, but I think it’ll be worth it for the chance to fiddle around with the software.

And that’s about it!

Standard stuff, if you like what I’m doing here feel free to leave a comment or a like. Especially once I’ve got some of this stuff going up on a semi-regular basis, it’ll be good to see what people like or dislike. And, of course, if you really like what I’m doing you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. In either case, have a great rest of the week!

Acrylic Mystery Dice Set

Alright, kicking off the week with a new thing. This is largely because I’m excited about the dice having arrived, but also because I’m still kind of giddy about being accepted to Dice Envy’s affiliate program. You can follow my link to them here. On to the dice!

March Mystery Dice Bag

So, the first thing that struck me with the mystery acrylic dice set was that rather than coming in the paper bag shown on the Dice Envy website the dice came in this nice sort of velvety dice bag. It’s a nice touch and feels like a bonus just based on my initial expectations.

Then we get to the dice themselves and my camera doesn’t do these justice.

March Mystery Dice

I’m pretty sure that the set I received was the Kosmos Mars set. They have this really fantastic sort of pomegranate red color that’s shot through with glitter that winds up looking like sparks. There are also a few inclusions of what’s either a darker red or black that leads to some really nice light play within the dice itself. In my set this shows up best in the d4 and the d6, but they’ve all got it.

March Mystery Dice CU

These dice are also really nice for rolling, the numbers are well done and clearly inked which makes them easy to read from a distance. Always important, since dice occasionally fly during game night. They also, just from playing around with them today, seem well balanced with no tendency to get hooked on certain numbers.

Final word here? I’m more than a little happy with this set of dice and left wanting to roll up a new character to use them with. I’m also left tempted to order another of the mystery dice sets, just because the concept excites me. So, yeah, I’m all about these five out of five.

1st of Spring, Year 256

Right.

Right, right, right, right!

The new batch of adventurers should be arriving today with the new caravan. I know they’re going to have job jobs, but it’ll help having other around to keep things safe for the civilians living here.

Caskfire’s coming along alright, basic, but alright. It’ll be nice for it to start growing more, especially if that means we can start getting personal quarters. Or at least some work space that doesn’t double as a table at the inn. Soon enough on that I guess. Maybe with better security we could attract some artisans. That’d be nice.

Churt doesn’t seem too happy about this lot, but Churt never seems happy about anything. Well, money aside. It does leave me hoping that I’ll at least get along with them. Wouldn’t that be terrible? Fighting off the Goblin hordes with companions I couldn’t stand? As long as they keep the fortress safe though, I’ll need to work with them.

That’s right! I heard that one of them is supposed to be a librarian and that they’re bringing some books with them. A library could be really nice, there isn’t a lot to do here aside from working and drinking  as of yet. We would still need to set it up in the inn, but still, there should be space. And one of the other new comers is supposed to be a bard, so that should be something else to make Caskfire feel more like home.

More later though, I’ve got to finish getting ready. They’ll be here soon!

 

1st of Spring, Year 256

Things could have gone worse?

I don’t know that this is going to work. The warlock and the bard seem fine, personable, willing to communicate, willing to wait on the rest of the group. That’s great, I can’t wait to work with them. I can’t wait to try more of Eclair’s baking.

The half-elf though. She doesn’t seem like she’s going to be willing to work with the rest of the party. Charged right past where I was having the adventurers group up to be filled in on things before meeting with Churt for the first time, didn’t even stop for hello, and when we got to the inn she had her feet on the table. On the table! People eat there! But no, no, never mind that, put your gross boots right where the plates go.

Also our new librarian, Chonck, seems nice enough. But he’s also near completely illiterate and won’t be separated from the books he brought with him. The books he brought with him in a massive sack. At least he stopped trying to take any other books he saw after being warned about Churt’s ledger. Maybe we can teach him to read once things have settled a bit?

We’re going to go scouting the area around the Yoyabo Goblin pit tomorrow. Wish us luck.

We’re going to need it I think.

 

2nd Spring, Year 256

Things went better than expected. I saw some of what the new team is capable of when we ran into a small Goblin patrol. I got around to the far side of them and took two out before they could close on the party. Not my smartest plan given that it got me stabbed, but it gave me a good vantage on what the others did.

It looks like the half-elf and the warlock both have some kind of attack spell, though since they both missed I’ve got no idea what they do. The bard though, Azurei might scare me a little, since she pulped the Goblins I didn’t get all at once, weapons and all.

It also seems that she and the half-elf have healing abilities. Not unexpected, but good to confirm and useful to keep around.

And our warlock, Eclair, seems to need to sacrifice organs from defeated enemies to her patron in addition to baked goods. Definitely worth keeping in mind. What kind of being is her patron that it would have such requirements? She doesn’t seem willing to talk about it.

I’ll worry about that later. On a more immediate note, we found a Goblin encampment. It looked like there was forty of them, maybe as many as fifty, maybe more. It’s close enough to be a serious concern. So we’ll need to pull from the fortress’ militia. Probably need to run some drills with them to make sure the adventurers know how to work with and around them.

Probably won’t have the chance to update until this is taken care of. Going to need to keep an eye on that encampment and the militia drills. Hope the half-elf doesn’t take a wagon out and draw every Goblin in the woods to our front door.

House Keeping 3/13/19

I’ve got boundless amounts of nothing going on. Some applications in for jobs, some ground work laid to get back to school, lots of hurry up and wait.

Boundless amounts of nothing and it feels like it’s stretching out into forever. That’s clearly not the actual case, I mean, I’ve got another con coming up in June, there’s a potential gig I’m hoping to hear back about for tomorrow night, and there’s always Friday night game night. Things are happening all the time, I just need to get myself grounded in them.

So, on to more relevant things.

Review is still coming eventually, I’m just going to make myself sit down and finish it. This is absolutely not a reflection of the writing’s quality, I’m actually really enjoying the writing, it’s just a matter of getting myself to start doing anything.

Much like the review, reviews for the January and February Second Star Books boxes are also still coming, same for the box opening videos. Same reasoning/excuse there.

I’ve got a couple of article’s partially written, I’m wanting to go back and finish those and polish them up.

And new stuff!

Since I’m not DMing the current campaign for my game group, I’m going to be keeping an in-character journal for my character. So I figure I’ll post that up here once a week, I’ll probably schedule it for Thursdays so that I have time to clean it up a bit. It’s not going to be a blow by blow of things, so much as a retelling of the important bits. It should be fun and, of course, if folks have any questions I can always clarify things.

Related to that, I’m excited to announce that I’ve been accepted into Dice Envy’s affiliate program. I actually ordered one of their mystery dice bags before I found out I’d been accepted, so I’m really looking forward to showing those off. You can follow my link here to the site, I’ll include more about it when I show off the dice mystery bag early next week.

That’s about it for now. 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 here you can feed my caffeine addiction and buy me a ko-fi. In any case, enjoy the rest of the week!