Welcome to the Roaring 2020s.

That’s it. We’ve done it. As a planet, as a species, we’ve somehow made it to the year 2020 AD without destroying everything…for the most part. Climate change is still a big issue on the horizon. Plenty of animals have gone extinct, largely in part due to human activity (read: human stupidity). The oceans are polluted beyond control with plastics. But, hey. At least we haven’t nuked the Hell out of each other yet.

I am looking forward to this new year and to the new decade. I’m wary, though. Nothing is promised. Anything can, and probably will, happen in the coming days, weeks, months, years. What will the future hold? No one can really say.

On the plus side, my spouse and I managed to get our apartment cleaned. Seriously cleaned, too; it looks freaking fantastic in here now. Jasper, our fur baby, was so pissed off at us that she hid under the armchair for about three hours, though. That was the one place we didn’t manage to look, so Covey and I were terrified that she had somehow managed to get out. Aside from the cat being antisocial for a while, though, I’m super happy with how we did. It’s not like we are messy people, but with everything that’s been going on lately, we haven’t really had much time to do as much around the apartment as we would have liked to.

43724402._SY475_

I won a Kindle copy of this book (The Witch and the Guillotine by Daniel Sugar) via Goodreads’ giveaways. That’s great and all–and I will be posting a review soon enough–but it’s a sequel! If I remember correctly, there was no mention of a first novel in the synopsis when I applied to the giveaway. I don’t really feel like spending the money to get the first book in the series, so I’ll just jump in all willy-nilly. Hopefully, it will be well-written enough so that I can understand what’s happening, and what has happened.

We ordered calendars today, from Amazon! Covey wanted a Bob’s Burgers one (which, by the way, awesome show!), and I wanted either a fantasy-art one or a Hatsune Miku/Vocaloid one. In the end, I opted for the Vocaloid one even though it was a dollar more expensive. It sort of goes with the little nook of the craft room that holds my desk area. On the walls, I have a big blanket of Hatsune Miku, as well as a Sailor Jupiter wall scroll. There are some other anime/video game tidbits there, too.

So my spouse is a big Magic: the Gathering fan. We both play the card game, but she absolutely loves it. I do too, of course, but that’s only because she took the time and effort to explain how to play to me. Anyway, I bring this up because, while cleaning, we found part of her collection of cards! They fill up an entire reusable cloth bag–and those things are rather large. I think I’m going to talk her into sorting through them, and of course, I’ll talk her into making some new decks to battle me with! It should be a bunch of fun.

Video Book Review: “Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller

It’s the first video from my new YouTube channel! Woohoo! I am so excited to have posted this. The audio is not perfect–I am a very soft-spoken person. Added to that, I’m trying out a new-to-me editing software (LightWorks), so I have that to get the hang of. It does feel nice to have a YouTube channel again, and having no followers or views is a little sad–but! I am not going to stress over anything like that. I would much rather just enjoy posting my reviews and other videos.

Wish Lists and Plans for the Future

So. There is a 50% chance (maybe more) that I will be getting a job within the next month. It’s a good paying job–much more than what my wife and I are earning now via disability–and the location is just down the road. It’s going to be difficult, I’m sure. I’m basically going from having no job to a full-time one. However, I do feel that I am ready to take the next step. I’m ready to move forward, to better myself, to become someone better. Next year is all about that, truly.

For example, I plan on writing the bare bones of at least one novel. I hope to read more, and to start up a Booktube channel on YouTube. I will be getting back into video games, and less into obsessing over dolls. Though I still love them, I realized this year that I was basically forcing myself to make art that I didn’t and still don’t love.

At any rate…if I am able to land a job next year, there are some things that my wife and I want to be able to afford. We would be able to. It will be amazing. Perhaps I am counting my chickens before they hatch, but I can hear them peeping.

There are book subscription boxes that I would like to start getting. For so much money a month, by signing up to one of these subscriptions, one generally gets a few bookish items (scarves based on Harry Potter, for example, or coffee cups with quotes from A Court of Thorns and Roses printed upon them) as well as the book of the month. Some of the boxes offer a special, limited edition cover to said book of the month that can’t be found anywhere else. These covers are insanely expensive if one attempts to purchase them secondhand.

The following links/images are to the book boxes I would like to get.

OwlCrate: LINK

FairyLoot (US): LINK

Scribbler: LINK

Unicorn Crate: LINK
(I couldn’t find any good pictures from their site; they are also bi-monthly now)

Book Review: “Mask of Shadows” by Linsey Miller

Mask of Shadows (Mask of Shadows, #1)Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

True Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5

“Mask of Shadows” is an interesting book, to say the least. It is very fast paced, to the point where I felt like I could not take a breath at times while reading it. During the entire read, I was waiting for certain tropes to rear their heads; thankfully, for the most part, that did not happen.

After a horrible war destroyed their childhood, Sal–a young thief–finds out that the Queen is holding auditions for a new assassin to do her work. The kingdom in which they live holds, normally, four positions–Ruby, Amethyst, Emerald, and Opal. All of the Queen’s killers are named for the rings she wears on her left hand. Opal was killed during a mission, leaving that spot open.

What follows is a sort of battle royale between twenty three would-be assassins. Sal finds themselves willing to kill, willing to fight, all for the chance of becoming someone better. Added to that, they discover that terrible things are happening in their country; things that could lead to a new war. Not only do they have to survive, but they have to stop those that would tear their world apart.

I’m going to say it right here and now–I liked Sal’s character. Part of the time, they were called Twenty-Three, as that was their number assigned to them during the auditions to be the next Opal. Some of the time, they were male, sometimes female, and sometimes neither. Sal is presented as gender-fluid–which is freaking amazing! As someone who is non-binary, I felt a sort of kinship to another gender queer person. Of course, that alone does not make Sal’s character likeable. They were honest, not only with themselves but with the reader. Though they understood that some people would die so that they could further themselves, it was never torture. It was explained as being needed for the betterment of the country as a whole. Tough choices, of course.

The one thing about this story that I did not like was the disjointed way of writing. Linsey Miller is gifted, in my opinion, when writing dialogue and action. Everything in between, however, is just…choppy. Sometimes, I had no idea how a conversation started, or who was speaking. Sometimes, I had absolutely no idea how this happened, or that happened. It was sort of like a puzzle. The pieces were all present, but they were jumbled. I had to link things together that I normally wouldn’t need to. Passages and paragraphs were a little disjointed.

Of course, the twists and turns of the story made up for that.

The beginning of the novel and the end of the novel are what they are. They are a bit tidy, they are understandable, they are spelled out. From the beginning of the book, you basically know what is going to happen in the end. Everything in the middle, though–that’s the best part. That’s the meat, the journey. That’s where anything could happened, and it did.

I think the best part of “Mask of Shadows” is absolutely the fact that it continues on into another book. I will be picking up a copy of the next chapter of Sal’s adventures as soon as I can track one down.

View all my reviews

I’m Looking Up

Things are going surprisingly well at the moment, despite how horrible the previous portion of 2019 was. Going into 2020, it would seem that things are on the way up. For example–I might have a job within the next month! The best part about it is the location. It is literally a ten minute walk from our apartment complex to the front door of the business. Of course, I’m trying to not count my chickens before they hatch–I’ve been looking into other jobs nearby as well. It’s just that this one specifically would be amazing for me. I feel like I could do this job without too much hassle.

The weather was beautiful today, even if I didn’t manage to really get out to enjoy it. An open window sufficed.

My wife is feeling much better, although not enough to get out of the apartment. Because of that, I will be flying solo tomorrow in going to my grandparents’ home. We have laundry to do, and they’ve so graciously allowed us to use their washing machine so we don’t have to pay the nearly five dollars a load to do our clothes. It doesn’t seem like a lot, but when you’ve only got about 200 dollars a month… Which, of course, is another reason to finally find a good job.

Along with getting back into reading and writing, I am also getting back into video games! It has been a while since I really sat down to play a game (I think Kingdom Hearts III was the last full game that I played?). Tonight, I am going to work on Resident Evil VII, which Covey got me for Winter Solstice. There are a ton of other games that I really want to play and get into.

codeveinconceptioncrystarcyberpunk2077dragonstarvarnireldenringgreedfallraginglooprootlettershiningresonancerefrainsongofmemoriesvalkyriedrivevampyrvtmb2

Speaking of games–my copy of World of Final Fantasy for the PlayStation 4 just arrived via Amazon.com. Thanks, Covey! I will probably play that soon. I really want to finish Resident Evil first, though. Horror seems a bit more palatable at the moment. There are a few other things I need to do tonight before I sit down to play. Mostly finish this post, then do a few things online. I should probably also work on the Final Fantasy swap doll that is due sometime in February.

That I’ve started, but I’m super unhappy with it right now. I think I am going to start over–new wig, new doll…Not sure. We’ll see how it goes.

Good-bye, 2019

2019 was probably one of the hardest years I have ever gone through, especially the last few months of it. Though it may have started out grand, it did not stay that way. The strangest thing about it, though, is that it felt like a very long year. Things that happened toward the start of it feel like they happened ages ago.

For my family…we fell on hard times. Cassie’s illness grew worse until she finally passed. My grandparents’ health has decayed. The state of the country is terrible. The Earth is dying.

Ugh.

I look to 2020 with hope in my heart. There are things happening, slowly, that I think will help the next year be a good one. For example, I am applying to jobs again, thanks in a large part to a gentleman named Matt, who is helping me with the entire process. I’m on meds that I am compatible with. Things are looking up, really. For that, I am glad.

Next year, I have goals for myself. Lose some weight (a little at a time, of course); write a novel; get a job; start a new YouTube channel (based on writing and reading); and some other things that I will think of, I’m sure.

‘Twas the Night After Christmas…

Yesterday was Christmas. The morning went really well, despite my fears. My family got along very well, and everything was fun. My parents got me a new coffee maker (which is awesome, by the way!), a few other odds and ends, but the best part was that they got Coventry a waffle maker. She has wanted one for so long. The look on her face when she opened the present…it was amazing. I was so happy.

Then came dinner.

We left my dad and step-mum’s house for my grandparents’ house. It was…tense. This was the first Christmas we’ve had since Cassie passed away. My mom and gram were not fighting per say, but they were not happy with each other. Though it was nice to see my brothers and their girlfriends, the air in the house was just…thick.

My mom and Steve brought us home, which was a good thing, as Covey was feeling super bad. This morning, I woke up, and she was so ill that she spent nearly half an hour in the bathroom. After cleaning up the apartment for a bit, I asked her if she wanted me to take the bus to Walmart so I could grab some juice and medicine for her. She said yes, so…

Oh, by the Gods, the bus was packed. Packed! I thought that, on the day after Christmas, it would have been dead. Nope! Just about everyone was out on the bus and in the store. The bus ran late, so I was gone for nearly two hours.

Thankfully, I managed to get everything we needed–juice, soda, medicine, cat food, and a few other things to eat. The second I got home, I made Covey drink some of the juice I got her, and take some of the PM meds so that she could finally get some sleep (she was so sick last night that she just couldn’t get to sleep).

Poor thing, she’s sleeping now. I have to wake her up in about half an hour so that she can take another dose. She probably should have seen her doctor today (the office offers an urgent care section), but something’s wrong with her insurance. I don’t know why, as they never contacted her, but apparently, her coverage expired.

Shout out to my Uncle Justin, and to my cousin Montana, who are both celebrating their birthdays today.

Changing topics, I have this horrible urge to write. I want to do nothing more than sit down at my computer and type, type, type. The only problem is that I’m too sleepy to do so at the moment. I guess I can take down some notes? I don’t know. Ugh.