Book Review: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #6)

Blood Rites by Jim Butcher is the sixth book in the Dresden Files series. This book follows Harry Dresden as he is contacted by the producer of adult films who is worried that someone is attacking his crew with magic and wants Harry to protect him and his crew. Harry is doing this as a favor to Thomas, a White Court vampire that Harry has a friendly relationship with. However, Thomas has some secreats that will change Harry’s life forever.

I’ve heard from different people that the Dresden Files really gets good around book five or six and you just need to power through the first couple of books. I was starting to question if I wanted to finish this series as I just wasn’t really enjoying the books. However, those who said to read though book six I now understand why. This book started out and I thought that I would hate it. Harry as a character can be a bit misogynistic and very opinionated about protecting women but as the book continued I felt that either I’m use to it now or its being toned down. When you get to the half way point and the reveals on who Thomas is Harry comes out and other secrets are brought to light everything clicked for me.

If you are trying to get into this series and having trouble I would say to skip to book four and start from there as I feel like the series just keeps getting better at that point.

May 2022 Fairyloot

Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. May’s theme is Cloak & Dagger.

The bookish items included this month are a Red Rising inspired bottle opener, a Stardust tea strainer, a set of scrunchies inspired by Blood and Ash, a Daughter of the Moon Goddess mug, foiled bookmarks with characters from different mythologies, and the monthly tarot cards have character art inspired by These Hollow Vows.

All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers, signed by the author and include a letter from the author. This month the book is The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah. This edition also has sprayed edges, foil on the front and back of the hardback, and artwork on the endpapers. The Stardust Thief is a story inspired by One Thousand and One Nights weaving together the tale of a smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a quest to find a magical lamp.

June’s theme is Chosen Ones.

May 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

So this month I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump and have only read one book. I have instead been playing more video games as I’m currently making my way though the Kingdom Hearts series and hope to play Kingdom Hearts 3 later this year. I also enjoyed the YouTube series In Space with Markiplier Part 2.

Books:

The only book I’ve finished this month was The Galaxy and the Ground Within by Becky Chambers. This is the last book in the Wayfarers series but each book stands alone. This book follows a group of different aliens at a galactic rest stop waiting to get on their way. When an accident delays them they start to learn from each other they realize that though each my have either own problems what they need to come to terms with everything may come from each other. This is my second favorite of the series and I love how hopeful Becky Chambers’ writing is.

Video Games:

This month I was finishing off the games in the Kingdom Hearts series to be ready to play Kingdom Hearts 3. I do have full reviews posted of all of the games so far.

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance is the last full game in the story before Kingdom Hearts 3. It follows Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam to find out if they are true Keyblade Masters. They travel to the different sleeping worlds to learn the Power of Waking and set everything back to where it needs to be. This game also finally gives us what Xehanort’s true plan is and what Sora and everyone will deal with in the future.

Kingdom Hearts Back Cover is a movie that supposed to give the viewer all the important plot information from the Kingdom Hearts mobile game Kingdom Hearts Union. While it does provide some important information I feel that to truly understand what is going on you should watch all the cut scenes from Union, play the mobile game, or watch a full play through.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2 Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage is the last game left before Kingdom Hearts 3 and is essentially a prologue to that game. The story follows Aqua after ending up in the Realm of Darkness and what she has been doing. I love Aqua as a character and I love how it turns out that she helped Riku and Mickey close the Door to Darkness at the end of the first game. At this point I can’t wait to play Kingdom Hearts 3 and see how all the characters stories will end.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts Back Cover and Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage

These are the last two items in the Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue that I needed to finish to be ready to play Kingdom Hearts 3.

Kingdom Hearts Back Cover is a movie version of the important information that was included in the Kingdom Hearts mobile game which has gone through several name change but I will use Kingdom Hearts Union. The movie focuses on events during the time of fairy tale before the first Keyblade War. The Master of Masters has disappeared but has tasked his five apprentices to create Unions of Keyblade wielders to ready them for the prophesied Keyblade War and to protect the worlds light.

I know the idea behind this movie is to provide those who didn’t play Union with the information from the game that will be important in feature Kingdom Hearts game but honestly only thing I got out of it is that I don’t like or trust the Master of Masters. I personally think he’s playing everyone for a plan he is not explaining yet. After watching this movie I still feel like I need to watch a full cut scene complication or play through of Union and will also need to read the Wikipedia pages to really understand this part of Kingdom Hearts.

Kingdom Hearts 0.2: Birth by Sleep-A Fragmentary Passage is the story of what happened to Aqua after she became stuck in the realm of darkness at the end of Birth by Sleep. Its been about ten years that she as been stuck in the realm of darkness and its starting to get to her. It is also revealed that she helped Mickey and Riku close that door to darkness that they closed at the end of the original Kingdom Hearts game. You only play as Aqua in this game but it does give you a chance to see how Kingdom Hearts 3 will look and feel like. Aqua is one of my favorite characters in the series and I can’t wait to see how her story ends. I just want her to find her friends again and know that they will be okay.

May 2022 Illumicrate

Illumicrate is a UK based fantasy and science fiction book box that has monthly boxes or just a monthly book only subscription. Each box also includes a selection of bookish goodies some more practical, others more decorative set around a monthly theme. May’s theme is In the Dark.

The items included in this box are a Nevernight Gravebone replica dagger, the next in the Greek mythology inspired tea cup and saucer featuring the goddess Nyx, a blackout journal inspired by Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and a Monstress metal bookmark.

Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and most months a letter from the author. This months book is Book of Night by Holly Black which is Holly Black’s first adult novel. The story follows Charlie who lives in a world where ones shadow can be altered. But as a small time con artist she is trying to distance herself from underground but to survive she ends up in a storm of secrets and murder where everyone is trying to control the magic of the shadows. This edition also has an exclusive cover, foil on the hardback, art on the endpapers, black sprayed edges, and a bound in author letter with a digital signature.

June’s theme is Fight For Your Future.

Video Game Review: Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance

Kingdom Hearts Dream Drop Distance was originally a game for the Nintendo 3DS but has since been ported to the PlayStation 4 as part of the 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue collection and that is how I played it. This the last full game before Kingdom Hearts 3 and mainly sets up any last plot points that we need to know to get to the story of Kingdom Hearts 3.

The story follows Sora and Riku during their Mark of Mastery exam to determine if they are true Keyblade Masters. Master Yen Sid tasks them with traveling to the different sleeping world and wake them while learning the Power of Waking that will be needed to save all those connected to Sora in preparation for the final battle against Xehanort. This game also finally explains what Xehanorts ultimate plan is with some explanation as to why but I believe more will be explained in Kingdom Hearts 3.

Gameplay wise its the same action JRPG that we’ve grown to love the series for with added elements of the command deck that was introduced in Birth by Sleep. As the characters travel through the sleeping worlds instead of Donald and Goofy being party members you are joined by Dream Eaters, spirits that will help you through out the game and are kind of like Pokémon as you can new one and increase their levels as you play. I like the concept of the Dream Eaters but was not a fan on how they are implemented as it feels like a gimmick to me.

The other two big changes to the game play is the drop system and flow motion. As you play as both Sora and Riku there is a timer that forces you to switch between the characters most of the time you can avoid dropping when you don’t want to but it does add some pressure to finish each characters story in each world as fast as possible. Flow motion allows a much greater vertically and fluidness to the characters movement. Flow motion pretty much means that you can bounce off walls and spin around objects as well as many other things to attack swarms of enemies and get up on higher ground.

Overall, I had a lot of funning playing this game but this is where the series starts to be more confusing that it needed to be. As time travel is now an element to the series and it is expected by this point that you have played and understood all the games that came before that plot is a lot to deal with. As I’m invested in the characters, world, and story that has been created in this series I feel I like I have a good grasp on everything. However, for those interested in but have never played I can see you hearing about the plot can be very confusing and possibly make you not want to try the series.

April 2022 Illumicrate

Illumicrate is a UK based fantasy and science fiction book box that has monthly boxes or just a monthly book only subscription. Each box also includes a selection of bookish goodies some more practical, others more decorative set around a monthly theme. April’s theme is Nothing But Thieves.

The items included in this box are an Art History book pot, a Song of the Sprits Papercraft Kit, a print album, and fa Gilded Wolves Bookmark set.

Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and most months a letter from the author. This months book is Portrait of A Thief by Grace D. Li which follows Will a senior at Harvard who is contacted by a Chinese benefactor to help steal back five Chinese sculptures. If the crew succeeds they earn fifty million dollar but it they fail they could loose everything. This edition also has sprayed edges, foiling on the hardback, and art on the reverse of the dust jacket.

May’s theme is In the Dark.

April 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

In April I finished three books and two video games. I’m working though the Kingdom Hearts series and I’m making good progress. I also enjoyed watching the Youtube show In Space with Markiplier. The next couple of months post will probably be a little sporadic as I have several major commitments coming up that will take up a lot of time but I will try to post as much as possible.

Books:

The first book I finished this month was Egypt’s Golden Couple: When Akhenaten and Nefertiti Were Gods by Colleen and John Darnell. I received an early review copy through Netgalley. This is a nonfiction book about the reign of Akhenaten and Nefertiti. The authors reconstruct what is know about these two and how they became gods on Earth. Great book for those interested in Ancient Egypt and Akhenaten and the cult of Aten specifically.

Paperbacks from Hell by Grady Hendrix is a nonfiction book about the art of horror paperbacks from the 1970s and 80s. It focuses on the art but also on the how stories and certain novels changed the horror landscape. I don’t have a lot to say about this book but I enjoyed it.

The last book I read in April was Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn is a fantasy novel where a thousand years ago the hero lost and now the evil overlord rules everything. But a rebellion is building. Kelsier who survived the worst punishment is getting a crew together to kill the Lord Ruler. Vin a young street urchin and thief has the power of a Mistborn that allows her to burn different melts to gain powers joins this crew to hopeful change the future. It took me a while to finish Mistborn but I did enjoy the characters and world and I plan to continue with the series.

Video Games:

In April I finished both Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep and Recoded which I do have full reviews posted for. Birth by Sleep is a prequal game to the original Kingdom Hearts game where we follow three keyblade wielders as they try to become keyblade masters and defeat the evil that is threating the worlds.

Recoded was a movie version of the Nintendo DS game. This game focuses on finding out the missing information that was in Jiminy’s journal and who Soar needs to help. I can’t say much about this one as I just watched the movie version but I do like the fact that we get information on what the note form Mickey was about at the end of Kingdom Hearts 2.

April 2022 Fairyloot

Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. April’s theme is Bittersweet.

The bookish items included this month are a Night Circus tray, a set of heart shaped fairy lights, a Strange the Dreamer enamel pin, a canvas basket, and the set of playing cards that was delayed from March’s box. The tarot cards include character art from Daughter of the Moon Goddess. This month there is also an extra paperback book, An Arrow to the Moon by Emily X.R. Pan. This book is a modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet with Chinese mythology.

All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers, signed by the author and include a letter from the author. This month the book is Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye which also has blue sprayed edges, artwork on the back of the dust jacket, and art on the hardcover. Inspired by Yoruba-Nigerian mythology Blood Scion follows Sloane who who incinerate an enemy at will. She has hidden her abilities but on her fifteenth birthday she is conscripted into the army where she might be able to destroy her enemies.

May’s theme is Cloak and Dagger.

March 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

This month I only read three books but I also binged watched the last season of Doctor Who and finished Kingdom Hearts 2.

Books:

The first book I finished was Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition volume Six by Hiromu Arakawa. I’m rereading the series as I buy and collect these editions. This volume starts setting up plot elements that will become majorly important later. I love Ling and how the character is introduced but this is a sad volume overall because of everything with Hughes.

Next I read Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. This is a young adult Star Wars novel that follows Padme as she first become a Senator. I loved getting to see more of Padme and learning how exactly the decoy system worked. I do wish we had gotten a little bit more of Sabe as I was interested in the work the character was doing. Overall, I glad that through Star Wars novels that some of the women of the series are being more fleshed out and given more attention.

The last book I read this month was Why the Titanic was Doomed by Bryan Jackson which is a nonfiction book about the Titanic. I received an early review copy through Netgalley. This book details all the circumstances that came together and caused the sinking of the Titanic. Most of this information was stuff I already knew as an avid reader of nonfiction Titanic works. However, I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the coal bunker fire that many believe contributed to the sinking. Overall, this is a good book for those interested in the Titanic.

TV:

The only thing I really watched this month beside YouTube videos was the last season of Doctor Who. Doctor Who Flux was the most recent series of Doctor Who. I generally wait to watch Doctor Who when the season has finished airing as I haven’t been a big fan of the stories being told the last several years and if I want to finish it I have to binge watch it. I wanted to like this season and I did like some of the ideas but overall it felt rushed and liked there were too many story lines. I also watched the New Years special which I liked the take on a time loop but one that get shorter each loop.

Video Games:

I also finally finished playing Kingdom Hearts 2 and was able to continue the story of Sora and his friends. I love how the game play took what worked from the first game and add to it. I have a full review that goes more in-depth but know that I love the series and I’m working trough the next entries.