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16 July 2017 @ 07:33 pm
I'm moving to Dreamwidth!


Since April was a haze of rushing to finish my law school requirements and stuff, I totally missed out on the changes to LJ's ToS, and since I often review queer fiction/talk about asexual issues, I was worried about my LJ getting deleted or something because of that. (Also, I'd wanted a name change for my journal forever, but didn't want to shell out the $$ to change it.)

I'll keep this LJ as a backup/record. I've imported all of my entries, though on DW I'm deleting a few (seriously only a few) entries that I regret writing.

EDIT: Forgot to add that I'll still be cross-posting here, for the time being.
23 September 2017 @ 09:58 pm
So, after 2 days of playing Path of Fire, I have all 4 mounts, all mount masteries tier 3 (or almost, for Skimmer) except Jackal, slightly more than 2/3 of the story left to go, and I've explored 3/5 maps somewhat thoroughly, still have a lot of The Desolation left untouched, and haven't been to Vabbi at all.

I have Firebrand almost fully trained, ~75% done with Weaver, and far to go for Renegade. Mirage, Soulbeast, and Scourge I haven't really touched yet, out of disinterest in those elite specs.

I'm having a blast with the mounts and the exploration. The maps are super gorgeous. The story is kind of...eh, so far. It's just a lot of killing mobs with a ton of HP.

I guess my goals for now are training all of the elite specs, then moving on to the weapon collection for Mirage (Veilrender) / collecting enough Trade Contracts for Mini Jackal and Mini Skimmer (and other things/minis, potentially). Oh yeah, and slowly making my way through the story. And leveling up my Jackal to use the sand portals, and collecting all of the mastery points...etc.

21 September 2017 @ 12:34 pm
So I've been hearing some buzz about Fortitude Smashed by Taylor Brooke, and I decided to check out the first few chapters via Amazon, and...


I don't get the hype. I really don't. Unless the first few chapters aren't indicative of the writing style for the rest of the book, I found the descriptions either dull or overwrought (especially when Aiden and Shannon kiss). There is no real plot outside of the romance, and while I'm not a fan of the idea of soulmates in general (I feel that they contribute to aromantic erasure by premise alone; also, if your soulmate dies, does that mean you can never find a second relationship? Because that sucks), in this book in particular, it felt like the concept was used as a reason for instalove, rather than organically developing the relationship.

The writing was such that I had no clear idea about Aiden's character/background even several chapters in. I felt very detached from the narrative and the relationship.

I kept asking myself, what is the point? Why are these things called the Camellia Clocks and Rose Roads anyways? Why???
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18 September 2017 @ 11:53 am
Genre: Paranormal MM romance (I skipped the first book because it didn't interest me. Sorry not sorry, Alun/David)

The Druid Next Door
by EJ Russell (Fae Out of Water #2)

(Spoilers below, I guess, but I'd like to give potential warnings about the dub-con and D/s aspects to the romance for anyone who isn't expecting it. I certainly didn't expect it when I started reading.)

The book started off well, and then it...wasn't so good. The plot was interesting, Mal's snark was hilarious, there was a setup for a great opposites-attract relationship...but pretty soon into the book it took a swerve into Weird Fanfic-y Romance Trope territory that I didn't sign up for.

Also: if the characters have to argue about whether the sex they had was rape or not, something has gone seriously wrong in the book.

Unless I'm reading trash romance, I don't want to read romances where: (a) the characters are magically "tethered" to each other such that they can't go beyond 10 feet of each other; and (b) the romance starts with mind control-y dubious consent. Like, no. Just no. Either make your romance a full-on trash romance or just do something else, for the love of God.

And, I’m sorry, but I really don’t care for the explanation “oh, but it wasn’t ACTUALLY mind control; now I realize that I sincerely wanted it all along!” I mean...this sounds too much like the justifications for rape culture to make me at all comfortable?

I agree with many other Goodreads reviews that the D/s dynamic comes out of nowhere, isn't very convincingly explained, and in fact, is somewhat disturbing regarding Mal's confusion over suddenly having submissive tendencies (made worse by the fact that it was tied into the dub con). I mean, I'm not into the BDSM scene in real life, but I don't like that kind of portrayal of D/s.

Bad Boy's Bard by EJ Russell (Fae Out of Water #3)

Ugh. This book. I'm crushed by the fact that it had some of my favorite hurt/comfort tropes and could've been great...but in the end, it was only okay.

Actually, in hindsight, there wasn't actually as much hurt/comfort as I'd expected. As is par for the course—unfortunately—the promise of realistic treatment of psychological issues is never really realized. At the beginning of the book, Gareth is described as mired in suicidal grief over Niall's "death," but that's all gone as soon as Niall turns up alive again. Niall is described as being traumatized by 200 years of torture before it's quickly brushed over by his angst about deceiving/having deceived Gareth. Sigh. And the fact that Niall deceives Gareth for half of the book, and Gareth refuses to hear the truth until he has to in the heat of the action, really detracted from their relationship, in my opinion. The thing is, I do understand why both characters reacted the way they did. But they needed a hell of a lot more time to actually sit down and talk through everything in order for me to accept that their relationship is fully mended. And the ending (the last scene) felt somewhat...anticlimactic to me.

The dialogue was pretty great, the plot was interesting enough...though I don't really understand [mild spoiler] why the fact that Niall was still alive after 200 years didn't tip Gareth off that he wasn't exactly human? Yeah, sure, Gareth was just overwhelmed with gratitude that Niall was alive, period, but...still.

Gareth is painted throughout the series as something of an unreasonably prejudiced, extremely moody, self-centered jerk. I felt like his character could've been rehabilitated somewhat if his book had gone into a bit more detail about how the Voices he hears as a result of his bard training make it difficult for him to modulate his emotions since he is constantly dealing with them, or something. I was sympathetic to him, but it felt like I had to do my own filling in the blanks to get to that point.

There was nothing outright terrible about the gray-aro+gray-ace representation. (I also appreciated that another minor character was described as ace as well.) However, I kind of question the decision to make Gareth, the gray-aro/gray-ace character, a sort of loner who was constantly pining after Niall, consumed with grief, and unable to move on, even though he'd assumed Niall had died long ago. I kept getting this weird feeling that the book treated Gareth being gray-aro+gray-ace as the reason why Niall was the linchpin of his universe, one he (literally) couldn't/wouldn't survive without. Maybe I was reading too much into it, though. And also there's a fair amount of not-exactly-aro-friendly language suggesting that Niall "enriched"/"showed what was missing" from Gareth's life, even though Gareth had never desired a romantic or sexual relationship before meeting him.

One last thing: All three books in this series have a pretty heavy "cure the disability" narrative, and that's disappointing.
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17 September 2017 @ 09:09 pm
Genre: Contemporary, MM romance

Amnesia is my guilty pleasure trope. It's like catnip for me. The "twist" to the amnesia in this book is that Jonah is pretty sure that he doesn't want to remember his past, and that made the trope feel pretty fresh.

I enjoyed this book, and yet I also feel somewhat disappointed by it. The writing of it was fairly mediocre, which was just so disappointing considering the story itself was a unique take on the amnesia trope. Jonah and Adam's relationship was just okay for me. Not terrible, but the emotional spark could've been more compelling, I felt like. Sigh.
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13 September 2017 @ 11:47 am
Guess who heard back from an indie publisher after only a few days?

Guess who was not expecting that, at all, after having gotten used to glacial response times from agents and other indie pubs?

Guess who is so shocked and knocked over and they can't even respond to the email yet because they're convinced it's a hallucinated unicorn in their inbox? :o
12 September 2017 @ 01:29 pm
Vampire x hunter PNR: ~38k words

I think I should be able to hit 40k words once I add in the currently missing sections, but that's a bit short for an intended novel.

So, I'm sending it off to a beta reader first to see if they have any ideas for big-picture things that can be expanded upon, before I run off to fill in the last cracks.

I also haven't done a beginning-to-end editing pass myself, and I might come up with more ideas once I do so, given that this was yet another story that I wrote totally out of order.

So...yeah, I guess I'm temporarily done? I'm also starting to study for the bar exam, so I should be taking a step back from writing anyways. Although I just don't *feel* finished yet because there are still a few things left to fill in, I haven't hit my intended word count target, and I haven't read it from beginning to end yet. Sigh.
10 September 2017 @ 09:25 am
Since I've played during the demo weekends and also during the stress tests, I decided I'd jot down some thoughts on the various elite specs.

Firebrand and Weaver I mostly enjoyed. (I'm a bit sad that I'll still have to run Dragonhunter on my Guardian if I want a decent ranged weapon, though. Sigh.) I didn't play enough of Renegade but it seems fun, too. (I'm looking forward to finally ditching hammer on my Revenant.)

Soulbeast wasn't my favorite. I mean, the whole *point* of why I created a Ranger in the first place was that I wanted to run with a pet, so Soulbeast defeats that purpose for me. Besides, I was hoping we'd get our pets' F2 skills in Beast Mode, but we don't, so I found that very disappointing.

For Mirage, I have the same concerns as a lot of other people. The "no-dodge dodge" is a cool concept but very limiting in PvE, which requires a lot of dodging out of AoE circles. Also, the lack of change to the F skills is very surprising. Why not convert the shatters to ambush attacks, or at least do what Chronomancer did and add a F5 ambush? It seems like a lot of missed potential that makes the elite spec not synergize well with the rest of the profession.

I had fun with Holosmith at first, though it's definitely tricky to play due to the heat/overheat risk/reward thing going on. However, I found myself worrying about the elite spec as time went on. Because heat is so integral to the spec, you're almost locked into only taking the utility skills that take advantage of that mechanic.

Basically, I feel like Mirage and Holosmith suffer from similar issues in the sense that they almost seem to have been developed as nearly separate professions, instead of considering what could be incorporated with the base profession. For Mirage, the F skills are ignored; for the Holosmith, the utility/F skills are too separate. You could argue, maybe, that for the Gen 1 elite specs, Druid was kind of similar in that only the glyphs were tied to Celestial Avatar form, but the glyphs aren't mandatory for regular play and you could function without them. I don't know if the same applies to Mirage/Holosmith.

My feelings about Scourge haven't changed (don't know if I'll run it in PvE since I'm all about soloing content). I didn't test Spellbreaker or Deadeye because they didn't interest me. :P
06 September 2017 @ 01:17 pm
...you're eagerly anticipating a book, but it doesn't come out for a few more weeks. @_@

And you're hoping it doesn't totally suck, because 80% of the books you have high hopes for end up being major disappointments. x_x
04 September 2017 @ 01:26 pm
Vampire x hunter story: 30k / 50k? words

50k or slightly less is starting to look more and more likely as the target word count, at least for an initial draft.

I know my writing progress generally tends to slow down after about 20k words, but I'm really gunning to finish this story within the next few weeks, certainly before the end of the month. The major sections that are left are some mystery investigation stuff, and then the action scenes, and then filling in some missing chunks.