The Weekly Update: 6/4/17


So I created a new Sims household recently full of supernaturals—I had never played with supernaturals in TS3—and man, I should’ve done this sooner because this game is turning out to be so much fun. Like, I didn’t even have a plan when I created it. Didn’t know what jobs they’d have, what I wanted them to accomplish, etc., I just threw ’em all in a house together and was gonna see what happened, see what kinds of things each supe could do, that kinda thing. And not only am I totally invested in these sims now and constantly cracking up at all the strange new interactions, I’ve got all these inspirations for characters and stories based on these guys, and I’m thinking I might even write some short stories. (If my tennis elbow ever stops hurting so much, that is. It’s been worse than ever lately. I’ve gotten good at using my left hand only on the computer but have not used the computer much the past few days and am not planning to try typing an entire short story with one hand.)

Speaking of which, those of you who use dictation software, one of the problems I had when I tried one before was that it would turn off if I stopped to think for like five seconds. But I take lots of “think pauses” while typing. Any recs for a program that will stay on and keep listening until I tell it to turn off?

Anyway, my comments and replies might be generic today since typing with one hand sucks.

Blog/Bookish Updates:

The sudden release of new books in series I’m reading continues with three more this week. Not that I’m complaining.


Books I Received for Review:

Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis
Wraith Hunter by Clara Coulson
The Nero Protocol by Victoria Zagar
The Lightning-Struck Heart by TJ Klune
A Destiny of Dragons by TJ Klune

The first and the last two are from Dreamspinner. Wraith Hunter is from the author. Nero Protocol is from NetGalley.


Books I Finished:

Toric's Dagger by Jamie Edmundson
Wraith Hunter by Clara Coulson
Pyresnakes by Tray Ellis

Toric’s Dagger had a very detailed and thought-out world, and I enjoyed the motley crew of characters! Wraith Hunter was another unputdownable book in one of the few stereotypical kinda UF series I still read. And the fast-paced read was just what I needed. Pyresnakes was kind of… bland though.


Song of the Week:

Nothing this week.


Laugh of the Week:

Nothing this week.


In Case You Missed It:

– I shared book covers featuring wolves.
– I reviewed Organic by Jadah McCoy, a cyberpunk/dystopian about androids.
– I reviewed Shadow Fray by Bradley Lloyd, a gritty M/M dystopian about a dangerous, illegal fighting ring.
– I reviewed Meat: The Second Serving by Chele Cooke, an urban fantasy about werewolves and vampires.


The Sunday Post Link-Up:

Once again, I’m linking up to The Sunday Post at Caffeinated Book Reviewer 🙂


Talk to me!

Have you found any good books, music, or videos lately?
Have you had a lot of books in series you're reading release this year?


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78 thoughts on “The Weekly Update: 6/4/17

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  1. Laura Thomas

    I’ve never played the game. So little time already and I have a feeling its addictive. LOL Looks like you have some good books to read when you give that arm a break:)

  2. Greg

    I have never played the Sims but you can have supernaturals? Now I’m interested. lol and I can imagine what zany stuff they can get up to. You should definitely tell some of their stories. Or stories inspired by em. Hopefully your elbow cooperates. 🙂

    Mixing and matching vamps and other supernaturals sound like a blast.

    The Nero Protocol looks like something I might like, and I’ll check out A Destiny of Dragons too. I like that cover style.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yep! I was thinking of doing a whole post just to share some of the funny stuff about my sims lol. And I really want to write those short stories, but my tennis elbow is being really, really bad right now. I discovered I have dictation on my Kindle though, so I’m at least using that right now for comments.

  3. Ioana

    I confess that i have never before played The Sims (hides away in shame). But that supernatural extension pack (…let’s plays on yputube are a guilty pleasure ok lol) had your name on it tbh. (You can have witches right?? Also ghosts?? Cause those look awsome.). Sad to hear that you are hurt buuuut I am excided for stories with the little guys.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I would be so frustrated watching a let’s play and not being able to play myself, haha. But yeah my house has a witch, a vampire, a werewolf, a fairy, a genie, and a ghost!

  4. Evelina

    The last time I played the Sims was when I was… probably in school 😀 (that’s now ten years back) so no wonder that I have no clue what supernaturals are 😀 what do they do?

    Unfortunately, I have no recs of dictation software cause I’ve never used one. I hope someone recs something, because it would be the best thing for your elbow, really. And we want you to keep posting, so… 🙂

    I hope you get better, miss your long sunday posts :<

    1. Kristen Burns

      The different Supernaturals do different things. The werewolf is the funniest lol. I’m actually using dictation on my phone right now, so that’s something at least. But I don’t know what to do about this tennis elbow. I miss my long posts too 🙁

      1. Evelina

        Dictation seems to work well then 🙂 aw man, it really sucks though. Does your doctor have anything to say about the elbow?

        1. Kristen Burns

          Haven’t seen a doctor about the tennis elbow. Don’t really feel like wasting my time and energy just so they can tell me I have tennis elbow and that I need to rest -_-

          1. Evelina

            I think maybe it’s time to go, Kristen 🙁 hate seeing you suffer like that, and you know that when it’s getting the better of you like that, you’d better go. I’m usually the last person to say one of those things 😀 last time I had a bone/join/ugh problem it took them over a year to fix me, on and off. But when I think about it, at least it’s done. What if it would have stayed on for years? Maybe they’ll give you some physiotherapy or something. I’ve noticed that with these bone and joint things, resting can only help so much, it’s usually the right kind of controlled exercise that fixes it in the long run. This coming from a person who COULD NOT SIT for a year due to coccyx pains. So trust me on this 😀

            1. Kristen Burns

              This is a muscle thing though. But I’ve looked it up, and the only treatments are rest, ice, injections, which I’m not going to do, or surgery as a last resort. And as we’ve been discussing, I just don’t have a lot of faith in doctors after the experiences I’ve had when it comes to a lot of things, and I don’t agree with a lot of the methods they use to treat things. But I’m looking into acupuncture, even though I’m afraid of needles, because supposedly that can help.

              1. Evelina

                Injections are the only thing that tipped it over for me though. If not for them, I’d still probably be unable to sit 😀
                Any massages available though? Definitely acupuncture!! It also COMPLETELY freaks me out, but I’ve heard it helps greatly. My two grandmas are defenders of this technique. One of them had such a back problem she couldn’t walk, it took two sessions to fix her 🙂 I think you should look into it.
                I totally know what you mean about not trusting them. Maybe you’re better off seeing a non-traditional doctor? Like acupuncture and all that stuff, that’s usually done by naturopaths (are the called that??) and like.. Chinese medicine specialists, you know?

                1. Kristen Burns

                  I actually had pain in my coccyx for a long time at one point when I was younger and also couldn’t sit normal for like a year and saw doctors about it, but they never did fix me. It just kinda went away on its own eventually but still bothers me sometimes. I’ve had quite a few problems in my life in which doctors just couldn’t help, and I have a feeling this tennis elbow is going to be one of those. But I am looking into the acupuncture/Chinese medicine to see how costly it is since my insurance doesn’t cover it. And maybe if the needles freak me out too much they’ll be able to do massage or something else.

                2. Evelina

                  Oh my gosh! We actually have this in common! Nobody EVER has this! It’s such a weird thing all the doctors are always like.. “Whut? You can’t sit? :D”
                  What they did for me is gave me shots straight into the nerve there (wasn’t fun :D), like several times and then it started going away. Wouldn’t have helped you though, probably, cause you have allergies for that kind of medicine, like you told me. Then they gave me special exercises, those helped loads. If I had the ability to swim, it would have helped me even more, cause after just a few swimming sessions (went to a spa) it was so much better, at least for a while. But what also helped me is pelvic relaxation exersises. No doctors told me that existed. In fact, they don’t even know. Actually, it was coming back this year, and I fixed it with just the relaxation exercises. It’s amazing what they don’t tell you.
                  If you ever have that coccyx problem, message me privately, I’ll tell you what I do when I get it back. It’s a bit weird, so I say privately 😀 the reason we have that though, is because we have anxiety and when we have that, we tense our lower pelvic and stomach muscles. So in the end they don’t even know how to relax anymore. Ever since I started purposefully relaxing them, things got WAYYYYY better.

                  1. Kristen Burns

                    That’s exactly it, so many health problems have natural ways of fixing them, but most doctors won’t tell you about them or don’t even know about them.

  5. Maureen Bakker

    Sorry to hear you’re still having so much pain in your arm. That really sucks.
    I haven’t really read many books that are part of a series lately. And if I did they were books of a series that is already completely published. I kind of miss the thrill of waiting for a new book in a series. Sigh..
    I used to love playing Sims. Reading about it makes me want to play that again.
    Have a great week and happy reading!

  6. Lola

    I didn’t know they had a sims with supernaturals now, that does sound fun. And that’s nice you got inspiration for stories, but that sucks you can’t actually write them because of your tennis elbow. I only have heard of the dragon dictation software mostly so far and have heard a lot of positive things about that. I am not sure if it stops when you take breaks as I never heard anyone talk about that, but that does sound annoying your program stopped when you take breaks. I also have heard some thing about portable devices or maybe it was software that could record and then later upload to your computer. I can’t remember the name though.

    I also read 3 books this week :). I finally had a good reading week for a chance. Your new books look good. I like the cover for Wraith Hunter, glad to hear it was a good one. I often turn to uf when I want a fast paced read. I like the sound of the thought out world in Toric’s Dagger. Too bad Pyresnakes was a bit bland though. I hope you’ll have a great week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      They do! And it’s weird because I love reading about supernaturals, but I had never wanted to play with them for some reason. To be honest, I’m really upset about this tennis elbow though. I’ve discovered I have dictation on my Kindle and my phone though, so that’s what I’m using right now at least to respond to comments. Dragon is what I used before, but it was a free one that came with my computer, so I don’t know if others might be better.

      We’re always so in sync with our reading lol. I think I might be finally getting out of the slump too 🙂 Thanks, you have a great week too!

  7. Di @ Book Reviews by Di

    That dang elbow! I’m sorry Kristen. 🙁

    You really make me want to get back into the Sims again. 🙂 One day when I have more time maybe! At the moment though.. it’s a no. 🙁

    I hope you enjoy the continuations of the series. I feel like normally it’s a winner although sometimes sequels are underwhelming.

    I hope you have a good week and try rest that elbow!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks :-/

      Yeah, the Sims is so much fun, but I’ve had to stop playing for now too because of my tennis elbow.

      Sequels can be hit-or-miss, but I’m a series person, so they still make me happy!

      Thanks 🙂 I’m trying to rest it I’m even using dictation on my phone to respond to comments right now!

  8. Annemieke

    Oh the cover of A Destiny of Dragons. I might look that one up. I mean, dragons you know.
    Sorry to hear your tennis elbow is still hurting. How long before they will try something else than just resting?

    1. Kristen Burns

      That one is the second in a series, and to be honest, I don’t even know what it’s about LOL. I’ve just heard good things, I know it’s fantasy, and I like the author.

      I’ve been doing a lot of different things for my tennis elbow, but the problem is, rest is pretty much the only thing that really helps :-/

  9. Cindy

    You have some great books to read! I love Sims! My daughters spent hours playing Sims and I can still remember the fun they had! Have a great week!

  10. kris @ lemon-notes


    I’m so hurt that you didn’t give me more carpet tales, but I digress. I fracken LOVE the sims so much. I also really enjoy your updates on your sims?? I’m sitting here thinking “hm I wonder what kristen’s sims got up to this week.” So, if you CAN’T give me carpet tales, at least you can give me anecdotes about your sims. They do make great character inspiration because they’re all like super crappy AIs (at least in my mind). I hope your tennis elbow lets up!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry, my arms are hurting too much to draw any new Carpet Tales! But actually, I was going to share some anecdotes about these supernatural Sims, but then I figured everyone reading my weekly updates might be kind of tired of me talking about the Sims lol. I might do a separate post about my Sims so that anyone who *does* find them entertaining can read it 😛

      Thanks 🙂

  11. Laura

    I didn’t even know you could have supernaturals in the Sims, but that sounds awesome! It’s been years since I played it, but I can remember it being super addictive. I may have to get the game again! 🙂
    Have a great week! 🙂

  12. Literary Feline (Wendy)

    That’s so neat that you set up a household of supernaturals on Sims. I haven’t thought of that game in a long while . . . It used to be a favorite of mine. I wish I had a recommendation for a good dictation program for you, but I don’t. I haven’t had a whole lot of luck with them. I suffer from carpal tunnel syndrome, and have tried a variety of them during the worst of it, but never found one that worked well for me. Luckily, my flare ups nowadays are not so bad.

    I hope you have a good week!

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s the problem, I feel like none of them are really going to be good. Right now I’m just using the dictation on my phone to answer comments. It works pretty well, but it still takes like twice as long as it would if I were just typing on a computer.

  13. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    Your SIMS world sounds like so much fun. I wouldn’t want to play it without Supes after that. Sorry your tennis elbow isn’t improving. Mine is hit or miss and I find it I use some of that “icy hot” stuff on my arm when I go to bed at night, it doesn’t seem as bad the next day. Glad you are getting some new books in series you love – I love that when it happens!

    1. Kristen Burns

      The Supernaturals are turning out to be so much fun, I don’t know why I didn’t try them sooner lol. I’ve been trying a lot of things for my tennis elbow, but I haven’t tried Icy Hot yet, so maybe I’ll try that next

  14. Olivia Roach

    Lately I’ve been breezing through Santino Hassell novels like crazy and it’s kind of actually taking over my life. I’m obsessed and it’s not necessarily a good thing.

    You read so many fantasy and paranormal books! I’m really impressed. And I remember the days I used to love playing Sims 2. I don’t play anymore, but your comments made me think of how far they’ve developed the game now.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I haven’t heard of that author, but aww come on, book obsessions are always a good thing 😉

      I only read fantasy and sci-fi, and fantasy is my favorite, so yeah I do read a lot of it lol. I’m still playing The Sims 3, not even the Sims 4, but I still remember the original game, and they really have come so far! The game never ceases to amaze me.

  15. S. J. Pajonas

    Dragon is always listening. It has never turned off on me, and I’ve gone A LONG TIME without speaking. And actually Dragon is really the only good dictation software on the market. I help run the Dragon Group on Facebook and I’ve done all the research. Right now I recommend people get this package because it’s an Amazon exclusive and it’s CHEAP compared to buying DNS 13 Premium on its own.

    I’m sorry to hear that your elbow is still bothering you. I know other authors that have had tennis elbow and it sucks. Most of them have had surgery. 🙁

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, I know dragon is pretty much my only option. But when you say it’s always listening, what exactly do you mean? Because whatever version I used before, using it would be like, “hey dragon, start listening, I went to… Hey dragon, start listening, the store… Hey Dragon, start listening, yesterday…” Which is better than nothing I guess, but still really frustrating.

      Thanks. I’m really trying to avoid surgery. Looking into acupuncture.

      1. S. J. Pajonas

        I mean, you turn on the microphone by pressing the red microphone button, the button turns green, and Dragon listens no matter how long you pause. It doesn’t stop listening until you either hit the button again or you say “Microphone off.” I tried their Dragon Anywhere app for my phone and I hated it. The app would turn off the microphone every 30 seconds. Ugh. I’m used to turning the microphone on for Dragon and having it work until I turn it off.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Okay then maybe the one I had just wasn’t a very good version since it just came with the computer. Thanks for that link, by the way, that does look like a great deal on Amazon.

  16. Dina

    Ow, ow ow. Tennis elbow sounds so painful and uncomfortable.
    I don’t know any dictation programs, but I really do hope you can find something that can make writing a bit more doable because I bet your stories would be amazing. Is the dancing Sims character one of the supernatural peeps? (Sorry, I don’t know much about Sims). I like the dancing Sims character dude, with his fabulous hair, though. Do you get to name the characters, because I’d love to hear names and personalities and all that fun stuff.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It is painful, unfortunately. But thank you 🙂

      Yes! The dancing guy is a fairy. I figured out that apparently dancing is a fairy thing in the game. So that’s why he dances all the time. His name is Matthew. Sorry, that was probably kind of disappointing since it’s not very exciting name lol. I don’t remember all his traits, but I know he’s a social butterfly and a schmoozer, so he basically just goes around flattering everyone in the house. And he’s dating a werewolf now! They’re absolutely adorable together <3

    1. Kristen Burns

      Thanks 🙂 Ha, I play on some old, half-broken laptop that screeches at me and makes almost constant noise the entire time it’s on and freezes just using the Internet. It is definitely not the type of computer meant for playing the Sims, my game lags like crazy, but it’s what I got, so it’s better than nothing.

  17. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    Oh man.. I should stay away from your posts!!! I’m a game addict LOL Now I want to play the simms so badly because now I’m super curious about this supernaturals thingy. You need to put a disclaimer “trigger warning” ;-P And… TOLD YA! Those simms sounded inspiring! 🙂 Hope you share some of the short stories 🙂 Hope you find a good dictating software and feel better soon.

  18. Karen

    The Sims set up sounds hilarious! What kind of supernatural elements are there? Like werewolves and vamps? Ghosts? I’ve never played.

    Hope your elbow feels better soon. I get a type of carpel tunnel from my Kindle lol Reading is dangerous!

    For What It’s Worth

    1. Kristen Burns

      My house has a vampire, a witch, a ghost, a genie, a werewolf, and a fairy. There are some others in the game, but you have to, like, find them or make them in-game, and that was too much effort for me, so I stuck with the ones I could create lol.

      Thanks! Ugh, yes, I think reading on my kindle is turning out to be even more painful than using the computer.

  19. sjhigbee

    Sorry I’m a bit late with getting to you – for some reason your blog seems to have dropped out of my mailing list… But I’m also increasingly interested in dictating stuff, so I shall be checking the available programs out to see how they fare. I love the look of Wraith Hunter. Have a great week, Kristen:)

    1. Kristen Burns

      Oh no, I wonder why that happened with the mailing list. I don’t like dictating, but unfortunately it has become necessary. Wraith Hunter is part of a great series if you like urban fantasy! Thanks, you too 🙂

  20. chucklesthescot

    I’ve yet to try the Clara Coulson series but I’m certainly interested in it. I see the first one is 99p so I might as well grab that. I’ve got a few new releases in series I follow coming up this year-the last books in my two favourite zombie books, a new Iron Druid book, a few apocalypse books hopefully…exciting times ahead!

  21. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Yes! I can’t believe I’m so behind on posts and I missed out and learning you had a supe house on Sims. That is awesome. I love all the different creatures introduced in that game, it gives the potential for so much more. I want pictures of this household!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m sorry, I just have so much awesome stuff going on that it’s impossible for everyone to keep up with all of it 😉 Jk, that wasn’t even remotely true lol. I was thinking of making a post about them the. I still might if my arms stop hurting!