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text 2018-12-08 22:03
Partial reading slump, and a visual novel

I haven't been very interested in sitting down and reading lately, although luckily it doesn't seem to have affected my desire to listen to audiobooks. I'm still doing a good deal of that. I made the mistake of putting multiple audiobooks on hold and, since they all came in at once, I now have an excessive amount to listen to.


I've also drifted back to visual novels (sort of like choose-your-own-adventure style computer games). I'm currently working my way through 428 Shibuya Scramble, one of the few non-romance visual novels in my collection. Judging by reviews, it usually takes people about 40 hours to get through the whole thing, and I just started my 5th hour.


The controls are occasionally a bit annoying (you can't change the text speed or use a mouse, ugh), but the story has one of the most interesting structures I've ever experienced in a visual novel. It starts off focused on a kidnapping: the twin sister of one of the characters has been kidnapped, and the first POV you follow is that of one of the cops watching as she waits to hand off a suitcase of ransom money.


Right from the start, you get one of the bad endings. In order for the story to progress, you must follow hints and switch between various POVs. One character's decision to talk to another (or exterminate or flee from an insect) could determine whether someone else's story continues or not. There are five POVs: Kano, the young cop with fiancee problems; Achi, a street smart young man obsessed with recycling; Osawa, a virologist and the father of the kidnapped girl; Minorikawa, a freelance journalist trying to help out a colleague; and Tama, a girl stuck in a cat mascot suit who is attempting to sell a questionable diet drink. A timeline helps you track each POV and switch between them at various points - all of their stories are going on simultaneously, so it's helpful to know that, say, Achi is doing X at 12:20 PM while Tama is doing Y.


The screenshots made it look like a pain to read, but it's actually been going better than I thought it would. I'm not sure that the basic story would have been that appealing, but it has a lot of energy and great humor.


A couple screenshots from Tama's storyline:


This is somewhat less creepy in context.


The game is riddled with often amusing explanatory notes.

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text 2018-11-28 23:45
Slump... or not?

Is it really a slump when you stop reading because you want to focus on something else for a while? I mean, I already read over 50 books this year and I think that is pretty good for someone who has trouble focusing.


(I have years of 200+ books, but I don't want that kind of pressure anymore. Reading = fun, not a job or chore! More power to people who can read that much all the time, but I can't keep that up year after year!)


Right now, I am technically in the middle of 3 books (4 if you count the one I haven't recorded online. Oops. Does it count if I haven't recorded it online...so is the era we live in! :/ )


Paperbacks From Hell:

(I want to savor it!)



Paperback Crush:




Ordinary Souls:

(Short story collection, so I can take my time if I want to.)




The Hobbit:

(Shifty eyes... for some reason my brain thought it was a good idea to try and read The Hobbit and LOTR again. Curse my brain!!)






Anyways, hi. I haven't updated in a while  because I've not been reading much. How is everyone doing?

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text 2017-06-26 17:05
Reading slump, maybe

I don't know if I'm in a reading slump or if my current reads just aren't working for me. At any rate, I've been playing games more than reading lately. I'm at least trying to get some of my review backlog taken care of, but that's slow going too.


Steam has their Summer Sale going on right now, and I wish I could buy up my whole wishlist. I figured out what the total would be if I did and...no. But I did get some goodies and spent the weekend trying out one of them, Sunless Sea. So far, my first captain committed suicide by pirate rather than face eating her crew (or being eaten by them - the ferret was acting particularly menacing near the end), and my second captain foolishly took on an enormous shark with the game's default weaponry. My third captain is doing fairly well at the moment, which makes me nervous. I keep waiting for him to accidentally make a bad deal, or get surrounded by monsters he can't run away from, or something equally awful.

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review 2016-07-09 21:24
The Missing Butterfly by Megan Derr
The Missing Butterfly - Megan Derr

I picked up this audiobook on sale.  I was a bit leery of a contemporary Megan Derr novel, but I thought I'd give it a try.  My verdict is nope - only fantasy from this author from now on. I am starting to think I should just not read contemporary at all unless I have a very good reason.


I think The Missing Butterfly is supposed to be a modern day fairy tale of the Cinderfella sort, without any magic.  Everyone is gorgeous and talented, and several are very rich (I could see more books in this series being set up the entire time I was listening). Lots of wish fulfillment for the deserving young MC. But for me it was all frosting and no cake - no suspense or real plot or antagonist to be found.


One thing that bothered me:  the women characters came in exactly two flavors - the giggly gossipers who are way too involved in the male characters' love lives, and the horrible bitches.  I know Megan Derr can write good female characters, but not this time.


The characters were all pretty two-dimensional.  I don't mind that so much in fantasy, because they have interesting talents that come out in scary situations, and that keeps my attention. (Of course three-dimensional characters and an interesting plot is ideal, but you usually can't have everything).



Lots of people love this, so I might be casting some residual book slump shade on this book.  I suspect people who like fluffy rock star stories would have fun (though there isn't much actually rock star activity in the book). 



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review 2016-06-11 20:55
Winter Kill by Josh Lanyon
Winter Kill - Josh Lanyon

***beware of spoilers until I get the spoiler tags cleaned up***


My reading slump continues.  Even Josh Lanyon has let me down!  I don't always love Josh's books, but usually it is because one of the main characters is too much of a dick.  I can, usually, count on the mysteries to make sense and the LEO characters to be reasonably intelligent and good at their jobs.  Not here.


Adam is both TSTL and psychic all at the same time. There are two points at which he figures something out with no rational basis I could see.  First, he see a picture of a young women when she was a girl, standing with two older boys.  At a glance Adam determines that the picture wasn't given to her, that she stole it, and that she has a crush on one of the boys.  Second, he meets the bad guy for the first time and 


immediately knows he is the Roadside Ripper, because he doesn't tell them his former trucking route and he is annoyed by Adam

(spoiler show)


But even though Adam is apparently psychic, he is also appallingly incompetent.  Before the case starts,


his team manages to short out a kidnapping victim's father's car, and Adam fails to stop one of the kidnappers from shooting the father, even though he is in the back seat of the car at the time

(spoiler show)


He also


gets kidnapped by the Roadside Ripper, even though he knows (psychically!) who it is.  He just opens the door and gets coshed

(spoiler show)


Rob isn't psychic - just incompetent and touchy.  For example, he gets mad at Adam for 

asking someone about his son's love life.  This is apparently so insensitive that Rob is going to leave Adam behind for further interviews - even though he didn't bother to tell Adam the son has been institutionalized.

(spoiler show)


Josh also sets up a romance that can't work, at least not yet, and then makes it work with some really improbable behavior. 


So, yeah, my reading slump continues.  Rats.



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