Why You Should Ego Boost Your Friends

I made a whole Twitter thread complimenting my friends today. And it’s not the first time I’ve done this either.

Tweets like the one I quoted, threads asking for book recommendations, and “what have you been reading lately?/what are some people you admire?” questions give me a great excuse to do this and I often take them. There’s a big reason for that. See, I built this blog around criticizing things, riffing on shitty writing; whether it’s so bad it’s good or just straight up bad. And I do that because it’s fun. It’s cathartic to talk about things you dislike, whether you do it with humor or with genuine spite. I do a mix of both sometimes, but more often than not I play up the humor. I like to make my suffering entertaining.

One thing I’m notoriously bad at though is talking at length about things I genuinely like. The more I like something the less I can make a compelling case for it beyond “AAAAAAH IT’S SO GOOD OMFG AAAAAHHH”. This makes it so I often avoid writing comments on things as I read them. I struggle to find words and I also feel that just saying I like it isn’t enough. As a result, I just don’t. Which is a problem. Especially in regards to my friends, I feel. Because it’s easy to take positive feedback for granted when you talk every day and you’re constantly sharing excerpts and making small comments here and there. It’s easy to think the people closer to you know how you feel about their work and that you don’t need to explicitly say it. But truth is everyone needs to hear it. Everyone deserves to hear it. No, it doesn’t mean any less because you’re their friend. If anything it should mean a lot more.

I don’t know. I guess the whole point of this post is me encouraging you to be that sap who publicly shows appreciation for your friends and their work. As much as you can. Find excuses to do it. This post could be one, if you like. You have my permission. 😛

Anyway, that’s all for today. I swear reviews will come eventually. I’m working on it.

See you peeps then.

B.B

Let’s Talk Genre Part 01: My Perspective

Hey there, peeps! I’m trying to get my shit in order so I can return to reviews as soon as possible. I really appreciate your patience while I’ve been recovering from my hand injury (my finger is still not quite recovered, but it’s good enough to write) and the absolute mental funk that followed (still not 100% on that either, but we’ll get there). What little energy I’ve had is being devoted to Shadows Rise first, I’ve always been upfront about that, but that doesn’t mean the Nest isn’t important to me. I miss blogging. I miss writing reviews. I wanna get to a place where I’m able to juggle doing this and writing like I used to.

But that’s not what this post is about.

There’s been a lot of talk of genres around me in the past couple months. On Twitter and among my writer friend group. A lot of unnecessary discourse about what does or doesn’t belong in a genre, what has or not been done to death, what are the discouraging things we all hear about our particular genres, because my friends and I write in different genres and we all have struggles with negative commentary relative to our specific genre. And we all in moments feel like, you know, our genre gets unnecessary flack that other genres don’t because we don’t receive that criticism, we don’t see it as often, and it’s easy to assume it doesn’t happen. And if anything, these conversations have shown me that we need to have these conversations more often and more openly. There’s a lot of “that genre doesn’t get it as bad, and those writers have it easy” mentality in the writing community (especially on social media, let’s be fucking honest here) because we don’t always get to see a lot of the criticism those authors are dealing with on the regular.

With that in mind, there are three main things I want to talk about today: How I see fantasy as a genre, why I write and read fantasy, and what are the criticisms and misconceptions that have hurt me the most writing in this genre.

And ultimately I’d like to disclose some of the misconceptions I’ve held about the genres I consider my least favorite and then the more legitimate reasons I don’t enjoy those genres as much. It’s gonna be a long post, but I think assessments like this are important.

That said, disclaimer that anything and everything in this post is my personal opinion and my perspective as a writer and a reader within the fantasy genre. You can disagree with me and see things differently, but ultimately my experience is my own.

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Why I Became a Reviewer

I think I tweeted and posted about it on Patreon and forgot to put anything up here; I’m so sorry about that, peeps. For those of you who don’t follow me anywhere else: I’ve had a fracture on my middle finger. It took me a long time to feel comfortable typing again, and when I did, I had to give Shadows Rise priority (by the way, new chapter’s out now so go have a look!).

I have reviews pending that I will have to get through soon. Starting with a book review and then two Patreon polls I didn’t fulfill (sorry for that, guys!), but consider this my hesitant first step towards putting out content again.

You’ve read the title, you must be wondering why I decided to make this post. Short answer: I think it’s a fair question to ask myself. If you haven’t been around that long, back when I started this blog I stated multiple times I wasn’t a reviewer and this would not be a review blog. Clearly my perspective changed. The Nest is no longer the personal writing blog I initially intended and I’m happier with this outcome. Longer answer: I think explaining why and how this change came about might add to a larger discussion. Because I see a lot of debate about who reviews are for and who’s allowed to call themselves a reviewer. What ‘credentials’ reviewers should have, etc. And as someone who, uhm, doesn’t always write the most objective or tactful reviews, and also as a writer who is open to receiving the same sort of criticism, I feel like I actually have something to contribute to that discussion. It’s just my personal perspective; the reasons I do the things I do, who my reviews are for—Spoiler alert: not for the author, and we’ll get to that point of discussion later, don’t worry.

Not a Professional Critic

When I was a kid, I’d always say I didn’t want to be a writer. I didn’t want to be called a writer. I was never going to be a writer.

Yeah, I know. lol

The main reason was that most writers I knew at that point in my life were pretentious jerks and I didn’t want to include myself in that group. I didn’t realize that simply by doing what I was doing in my own spare time, I was already a writer at that point, and it had literally no effect on me as a person. I’m not a pretentious asshole who’s going to look down on someone for how they choose to approach writing or simply for writing something that isn’t my preference. I’m not implying all other writers are like this, just the ones I’d had a personal experience with at that time, by the way. I’ve met plenty of writers since and most of them are lovely people. Some of them are great friends, even. The reason I bring this up is that my experience with reviewing has been fairly similar. I didn’t want to call myself a reviewer because I didn’t feel I had the necessary credentials to do so. I’m not a ‘professional critic’ after all. And for the record: I’m never going to be. I wouldn’t expect anyone to take any of my reviews seriously, or base their own judgment on them. I do reviews for two reasons:

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The Obligatory New Years Post… With a Twist!

Hey, guys! Been a while since I’ve written a non-review post. This isn’t as much of a personal blog anymore, but I’m still a person after all and… The Obligatory New Years Post is an old-school Nest tradition I decided to not let die. I’m not gonna give you the whole “2020 sucked, here’s to 2021 being better” spiel. It’s just a damn number. If we want anything to be better, that’s up to us. So I’m optimistic, but very cautiously so.

I don’t want to analyze this year too much. It’s been horrible in so many ways, but there have been good things too. Right now I’d rather focus on that, and on moving forward. As you guys know, I don’t do the resolution thing. I don’t need any more reasons to call myself a failure by setting long term goals for myself when I don’t know where my head’s gonna be at tomorrow. One thing I want to do this year, though, is read more stuff I’ll enjoy because it’s actually good instead of just because it’s hilariously bad. I have been doing some of that in 2020, but not enough to my liking. I’m not going to pressure myself to read as much as possible in 2021, but I am going to try to give my time to writers who are legitimately good and deserve my attention more than people who write crap I can draw content from.

In that spirit, and since I’ve been reading on Neovel a lot when I manage to stop and do so… I wanna make a list of some of my favorite reads on the platform in 2020. In no particular order of preference, mind you. I love all of these books and I’ve come to see these authors as friends this past year, so no; I am not going to ‘top list’ them on this blog. All my friends are number 1 on my list at all times. >.>

Actually, to make this simpler, I’ll just start with the novels I’ve actually managed to finish.

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Patreon Review: The Christmas Tree (1991)

Hey guys, Future Bird here. Sorry this is a little late. I woke up pretty sick on the 23rd and while I did write half of this review then (you’ll notice me mention this in a couple of paragraphs, in fact), it actually got a bit worse on Christmas eve. So I couldn’t finish this in time for Christmas. I’m feeling a little better today though, so let’s do this!

The Christmas Tree is… A weird one. I honestly didn’t expect it to win the vote, but my one patron admitted that he rolled for it. Kinda his loss too because we ended up watching this together.

Opera Snapshot_2020-12-20_231005_sync-tube.de

It’s free on YouTube if you guys want to experience first hand, but right off the bat: I don’t recommend it. It’s terrible, but it’s not really much fun. It is pretty short though so it’s not gonna hurt you too much to sit through.

It’s two days before Christmas as I write this and honestly, I’m feeling pretty under the weather (don’t worry, pretty sure it’s allergies again), and the only thing I want besides sleep is Stardew Valley, but I’m gonna sit and write this up for you guys. Because you… deserve it?

Okay, I don’t know why you guys keep coming back for crap like this, but I’m not gonna question it, lol.

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Twilight Review: Chapter 03

[First] [Next (Coming whenever)]

Disclaimer: I’m not a professional critic. This is strictly my (clearly biased) opinion and if you like this book; hey, good for you. Don’t read this unless you know you can take a punch and laugh about it. Also… Strong language ahead probably. I hate Twilight with a fury.

I’m not in a good mood today. That’s why I decided to read Twilight and just wallow in my own fucking existential nightmare. Also, I still haven’t watched Alice in Wonderland and the last three reviews I did of this nature were Cursed Child, so… It’s overdue. =.=

This one is titled Phenomenon. Which, is a great Thousand Foot Krutch song. It’s not a great chapter though.

What Happens

Weather report of course! But wait, it’s sorta relevant this time? The roads are icy, Bella almost gets hit by a van in the school parking lot and Edward loses his title of ‘best character’ from chapter two by saving her life and dooming us all to suffer through the rest of this series. Also by being a gigantic asshole.

Let’s Break It Down

Where to start with this one… Well, with the positives, I guess? It’s a much more straightforward chapter than the previous two. Things happen, Bella is insufferable, Edward is an asshole, the chapter ends. Yes, that’s the positives. All of them. It rambles less, that’s the best I can say for it.

Again, I’m willing to forgive the weather report for this one, since the icy roads are plot relevant, but I’m not willing to forgive how much it still lingers on Bella hating the fact it’s fucking snowing. It’s worse than me starting a new Arc of Shadows Rise.

Opera Snapshot_2020-12-12_193009_discord.com

Now, before I get into the actual incident in this chapter and start pointing out all the ways both main characters are absolute garbage, I want to draw attention to this passage:

When I got out of my truck at school, I saw why I’d had so little trouble. Something silver caught my eye, and I walked to the back of the truck — carefully holding the side for support — to examine my tires. There were thin chains crisscrossed in diamond shapes around them. Charlie had gotten up who knows how early to put snow chains on my truck. My throat suddenly felt tight. I wasn’t used to being taken care of, and Charlie’s unspoken concern caught me by surprise.

I want to draw attention to this for two reasons 1) Charlie is a great dad and I want you to remember that and 2) this was almost good. By itself it’s actually good, except it rings so hollow in the context of how Bella actually treats her dad throughout this. This realization changes absolutely nothing. Bella’s attitude towards Charlie doesn’t change. And considering the fact that following this realization Bella almost fucking dies, there was more than enough opportunity to use this for actual character growth. BUT NOPE. None of that.

With that out of the way, let’s start with why Bella is garbage, because I have less to say about her this time. Not because she isn’t so bad, but because she’s bad for all the reasons I already explained in the first two chapters. Prior to the shocking realization her father would rather she doesn’t die a horrible death, she’s internally bitching about the weather, swooning over the fact she gets to see Edward again at school even though, she points out herself, that’s completely stupid considering how little they know each other.

If I was being honest with myself, I knew I was eager to get to school because I would see Edward Cullen. And that was very, very stupid.

Bella knowing she’s being stupid and doing it anyway, doesn’t help her case in the slightest, my dude. It makes it much, much worse in fact.

She also drops this gem of a line and… Stephenie Meyer has a bachelor’s degree in English.

In a lot of ways, living with Charlie was like having my own place, and I found myself reveling in the aloneness instead of being lonely.

Like, I know what she’s trying to say here, but oh my GOD does it read like shit. Seriously, who edited this book? Who looked at this and decided it was good to go? No. Bella is a 17-year-old who apparently reads Wuthering Heights for funsies and she expresses herself like this. WHO APPROVED THIS.

Just a second while I run this by my editor real quick.

Opera Snapshot_2020-12-12_235424_discord.com

Opera Snapshot_2020-12-12_235511_discord.com

So yeah. lol

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Patreon Review: Courting The Coronavirus

Alright. I’m feeling semi-productive today. It’s one in the morning. Let’s get this over with, finally.

If you haven’t read the first Coronavirus book review I did, you don’t have to, but I am going to draw a few comparisons between these two books, so if you want some more context on that, here’s the link. It’s a relatively short read.

If you did read that review of Kissing The Coronavirus, you may recall that I actually enjoyed that book a lot. I gave it 5 stars, I thought it was quality so-bad-it’s-good content. Courting the Coronavirus isn’t. And, if anything, this book is a great example of something that wanted to be, or thinks it is, ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ but in reality is just plain bad.

Now, in my honest opinion, parody is one of, if not the most difficult thing to get right. There is a very thin line between leaning into a certain trope in order to mock it and just… Using said trope. This book, to its credit, is obviously trying to mock these tropes, the problem is it doesn’t do a great job of it. This book’s idea of humor is blatantly stating things. Starting with the main character.

Joan is a dumb selfish whore who I have to assume fucked her way into this university and only got into this science program to try and fuck the professor. And if you think that’s way too harsh on my part, well, that’s 90% of this book’s humor. Joan is a stupid hoe. Laughing yet? Also, she explicitly states she wants to fuck her professor. So, no, I’m not woman-hating on this character. She’s written this way.

Also, I’ve never been one to see a terrible female character and think “oh, I bet a dude wrote this”. If anything, I think E.L James proved dudes don’t own writing shit female characters. That said, damn, I bet a dude wrote this. I can’t prove it, there isn’t a lot of info on this author out there and Lee Taylor is an ambiguous name to me, but I’ll be surprised and disappointed if I found out a woman wrote this.

Now, if you’re thinking I’m an idiot for expecting any quality from any of these books… I wasn’t, no one is. It’s coronavirus smut. I’ve been in the game of review terrible media for a long time now, I never expect quality. HOWEVER. Kissing The Coronavirus wasn’t good either, it was just funny. So, what makes that one funny and this one just… Bad.

I don’t know how to explain this without continuously comparing these two books, but I think the simplest explanation I can give is that Kissing The Coronavirus jokes about how slutty and not-the-brightest Alexa is. Courting The Coronavirus doesn’t joke about Joan being stupid and a slut, it just… Writes her that way. Imagine a stand up comic going up on stage and just making statements. No set up, no punchline, no inflection.

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Blog Direction, Patreon Reviews, and The Month of November

Hey guys. It’s been a while.

Halloween came and went. I drafted two posts to go up on the day, neither of which I was happy with in the end, so I decided to just skip it altogether, but if you want a Haloweeny thing from me. I wrote a bonus chapter for Shadows Rise. It’s a standalone chapter, so even if you’re not caught up you should be able to enjoy it. I’ll try to give you guys something extra next year to make up for it.

November has also pretty much come and gone. NaNo month, US election month, pick your source of stress, I’m sure you must have felt it at some point. The world is a scary place right now, anything that helps the people I care about, if I can do it, I will do. And one thing I know I can do is provide some entertainment. This has become the main objective of this blog for a while now. And in light of that I’m gonna be doing some clean up in the upcoming months. I am going to actually delete a lot of older posts where I expressed views I no longer hold. Or things that might be seen as callous or hurtful to people now. I’ve been debating this for a while, if I should just delete these posts without saying anything, or if I should address it and leave them up, and I decided that… I’m just going to delete them and address it here, just this once.

The Nest has been around for a very, very, long time now. Seven years, give or take. I’m definitely not the same person I was when I started this blog. The direction this blog took isn’t the same I envisioned when I started, it’s become more and more geared towards entertainment than a personal blog. As years passed and I found enjoyment in making fun of so-bad-it’s-good media, as well as just straight up bad media, this has sort of become my brand. And I decided, yeah, I’m perfectly cool with that.

There are a lot of vent posts that are either too personal or simply no longer reflect who I am in this blog’s history and because of the Big Red Button over there *points to the sidebar* they are a lot more easily accessible here than they normally would be. One click can take someone into a very WTF moment of my past, and that’s not something I want to chance anymore. That’s the main reason for wanting to delete those posts now.

Am I never going to express opinions on this blog moving forward? I don’t know. Probably not. But I do have a much better grasp of the person I am now than I did back then. And if I do, it’s unlikely it’ll be something I’ll need to consider erasing in another five, or ten years.

I’m not going to go over every single one of the posts I made I no longer agree with because it would run too long and be mostly pointless, in my opinion, but I am going to say that I’ve gained a greater understanding over the years of what certain things are and how certain things actually work. I’m also not the same emotional over-reactive idiot I used to be in my twenties. And if it was just embarrassing for me to have that stuff up there, okay, that’s a fair consequence of being an idiot, but I also feel it’s my responsibility to create the type of environment I want this blog to be; right now and moving forward. And what I want is for people to come to this blog and find a good distraction, maybe have a few laughs. I think if that’s one good thing I can bring to the world right now, then I should make it a priority because fuck knows everyone’s got something inflammatory to say this year; and whether they’re in the right or not, it’s always just… Really exhausting. I want the Nest to be a reprieve and not a reminder of all the bullshit in the world. If you guys want my thoughts on stuff you can contact me and ask, here or on Twitter; the point of this isn’t to hide my opinions. I just probably won’t be making it into posts anymore for that reason.

That leaves one last thing to address. Blog direction. Not much has changed in the sense that Shadows Rise needs to take priority. The Nest will be most active in-between Arcs and during our end-of-year hiatus. Both of which have now arrived. And since I do have one patron now at a high enough tier to vote on content, Patreon Reviews are going to become a thing.

That means a monthly vote and a guaranteed review of whatever wins that vote at the end of the month. My goal moving forward is to get two reviews out every month. One will be a Patreon Review, the other will either be Twilight, Cursed Child, or Disney Revisited. But if I can’t get both out, the Patreon Review is 100% guaranteed to happen. I don’t know where Fic Commentary series will factor into this schedule in the future, but… We’ll play it by ear, I guess. I predict it’ll be a while until I find one worthy of a long commentary series anyway.

For now, that’s it for announcements and updates. If you’re wondering what’s in-store for this month’s Patreon Review… Here’s a hint:

If you’re afraid… Good. You should be. Fuck knows I am.

I have some reading to do now, guys. See you on the other side.

B.B

The Heart of The Forest 2.14

Guys, check out the latest SR chapter. I had a great time writing it, especially the final scene. I also cried like a little bitch in some parts so yeeeah. 😛

There’s only the epilogue left on Arc 02 and things are definitely about to take a turn.

[Wolves Camp | Otium 9th, 2525 |Early Morning]

Lena arrived at the Alpha’s cabin early, only to find it empty. She’d requested a meeting the night before and her mother told her to wait for her in the office in the event she was out assisting with any of the repair work being done […]

The Heart of The Forest 2.14

The Last of Us 2 Broke Me

Plotstains made me watch a The Last of Us 2 let’s play. He needed me to watch it because he wanted to talk about it. And I don’t know how exactly I’m going to write this post. I really don’t, lol. I just know that I need to write it, because I can’t stop thinking about this stupid game. >.>

I’m not gonna lie, I wasn’t enthusiastic about TLoU2 even though I loved the first one. I loved the first one, but… I hated Joel after the ending. And I don’t say that to the detriment of Joel as a character. I think… My sympathy throughout The Last of Us was consistently with Ellie from the start. And I saw the ending of that game as not only a horrific act but a betrayal. I was angry on Ellie’s behalf, I guess you could say. As for where I stand with Joel now… I’m gonna come back around to that later on because I think my feelings towards Joel actually illustrate my biggest issue with the storytelling in this game series as a whole.

Before that, though, I wanna talk about TLoU2 and how I felt watching the game. It was a roller coaster ride. Take that as you will but seeing as, like Abby, I’m terrified of heights; I’ve been on a roller coaster exactly one time during which I proceeded to cry the entire time and later on puke… This may not be as accurate of an analogy for you as it is for me. 😛

I know this game is divisive and a lot of people hate it for a multitude of reasons. I don’t. There’s a lot about this game that I love. Actually, I’d go as far as to say I love every single individual part of this game, but I absolutely hate the sum of those parts.

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