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This month has been super crazy so far. Quarter End last month and now implementing system changes and new processes. Dealing with the fallout as we find stuff that didn't work right. I am so tired! lol. AnimeFest is next weekend as well. Whee!

The movie this week was - The Dark Tower. While I enjoyed the film and the special effects were fab, so much was lost by them shoving everything into a two-hour movie. The flavor of Roland's world and the intertwined and twisted mess that has worked for years to bring all this about is not there. While I like Jake, I so wanted to see Susannah Dean! lol. (Hubby has not read the series and he did enjoy the movie.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided

I am so in love with how they do this city. The mix of old and new.

Isn't that a gorgeous building?

Then you find this kind of cool futuristic architecture. So awesome.



My little helper. Super paranoid computer geek. :P Once was a criminal.

Back to the bombed out train station. Trying to get some evidence before it is destroyed in a cover up.

I loved the 3D hologram/modeling. He's trying to reconstruct the bomb mechanism.



Psychiatrist assigned to check out the people at HQ. It's hard to tell if she's legit or not. Or maybe a little of both.



Hidden dance club. All of the customers are high as kites. If they have implants, they might also soon be dead! The new drug has some serious side effects for the augmented.



More Awesome architecture!

This advertisement was so unexpected and yet so awesome and scary! lol. This is an entrance to one of the train stations. I can so see a pharmaceutical company paying to do this for ad space. lol.

Hope you have a great Sunday!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Morning!

Haven't been able to do movie reviews the last few weeks. Just too darn busy! Figured I'd do a few quickies for the ones I have seen recently, then get on with the virtual tourist. :P

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets - 95% gorgeous and quirky, 5% giant plot holes. :(

Dunkirk - decent film but could have been great! Not once did it look like 4,000 people on the beach or thousands of small boats. With CGI anymore, there was no excuse. Time issues as well. And the added noise to the soundtrack? Horrible! No blood either. Like war movies in the 40's. Weird and disappointing. :(

Atomic Blonde - Awesome fight scenes. The plot was contrived, and even hubby left feeling blah about it when it was over. Said it was only worth matinee. :(

Secret World Legends

Since my screenshots of the character screen wouldn't take, I found a different way to take a selfie. Bwahahahaha!

My poor unsuspecting character in the game. :P

Dragon Cabal's leader is the child sitting in the chair. The lady next to him is his mouthpiece.

Entrance building to get to the portal to Agartha.

The little floating square that looks like a honeycomb is very important. You will find them all over the place, many in hard to spot locations. They give you lore and legends which will help with your personal museum of the bizarre. Since you were given your powers by a bee, this seemed apt. :)

A closeup view of the portal itself.

Behind me, you can see where I just came from. Now I am in Agartha. A different dimension with a giant life tree.

Guardians of the tree - so steampunk. Love it! The gentleman with them introduces us to the place.

A higher view of the zone. The little lit round objects boost you up to the central tree area or take you to other portals out.

A really neat place, no?

This players jetpack is a movement boost item you can buy. Weird looking!

Inside the central tree trunk.

Hope your weekend has been fruitful and fun!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

July has been catastrophic with regards to getting stuff done. Quarter Ends at work are just brutal. Didn't help we had some major projects due and a hierarchy system conversion all at the same time! Wheee!

Secret World Legends

I remembered to lighten the pics before I uploaded them to the photo albums this time. The game is at times very dark and the details I might see while playing, are not so visible in the screenshots. Doh!

For example, this guy looked normal on last week's pic. But look at him now!

Dragon Cabal Emissary

He has some super cool tats! :P

We're still in the newbie intro phase. Here we're about to get a glimpse of the trouble out in the world before I meet with the actual leaders of the Cabal.

The lady from last week has somehow sent my soul/entity into the body of another. This is where I woke up.



These are the manner of creatures we have to deal with. It's more than just undead.

People from other Cabals. Uniting in the trenches to fight. The Illuminati, the Templars, the Dragons. They are just the top three organizations.

Together we're trying to get out of the subway up to the streets. Lots of weird nastiness all over.

Definitely not in Kansas anymore!

She is the person I am currently inhabiting in this place. She was dead before I arrived to use her shell.

I leave her as I found her. (Not that I had control in any of it.) What manner of things are making into our realm from rifts like these?

Dragon HQ in Seoul Korea. Gorgeous!

This is the leader of the Cabal. He did not speak. Letting the woman beside him do it for him.

She explains how the Dragons believe in controlled chaos.

Fascinating!

One curious thing. My character never talks. She only listens. People tell her all sorts of things. Between the great voice acting and the weird characters, it's always fun to listen to all they have to say. :)

Hope you have had a restful weekend!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com
Morning!

Quarter End has proved as harrying as usual this quarter. Ugh. There are still reports and more to do. One of the ladies came in sick last week, and I am horrified that I might have caught whatever she had. Noooooooooo!

Anyway, more peeks into...

Secret World Legends



Two weeks after the bee flew into my mouth, I have finally learned to control my new found power.

That's when they come for me.


(I should have lightened these up! Argh!) He is a representative of the Dragon. They believe in controlled chaos.




My first view of the streets of Soul, Korea.




Nice work!




Following butterflies to get to one of the Dragon's places. Yes, butterflies!

A gentleman who gives me some insight into what I am getting into as well as the other major players out there.




Look at all those tattoos!




More tattoos!  This lady is about to send me on a mental trip. She's also a major tease. :P




Did I mention she's a tease? :P


Hope your coming weeks is more fun than mine! :P

 
Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Morning everyone!

During the July 4th weekend, Funcom made their supernatural MMO called Secret World Legends a free to play game.

Looked interesting, so we gave it a shot. Been loving it so far! Like that there are a variety mission types - main storyline, investigative, side quests, but the most unusual part that sets the MMO aside is that there are also puzzles within the game. There are even achievements for not being seen/caught during your mission. It makes the MMO act a lot like a regular PC game. Sweet!

Finally remembered to go locate how to take screen pics in the game, so I'm farther along than the beginning on these.



This is part of an underground pyramid hidden inside a normal-seeming cemetery. To the right is a trapped floor. You have to step on only the tiles with the symbol on the wall. (Have not yet figured out how to do pics without the UI. Sorry!)



Lovely hieroglyphics!



They've done a nice job on the textures too!



The cobwebs came out nicely! Great for the atmosphere.



Isn't this corridor just too awesome? They obviously did some research.



Those are some gargantuan doors!



War Machine Robot I had to deactivate and then get info out of. This was a sneak part of the mission as being seen by him before deactivation would mean my death! (He got me the first time, too! Wah!)


Look at the back of the picture. See those giant tentacle things? This is what this war is about. A neat section of the tutorial/game where you are placed inside the body of someone who's died and get to see a glimpse of what the societies are fighting against. Eek! (We don't win. Then you get to wake up.) :P



A better view of one of the tentacles. Yes, they have mouths! Eek! (Just noticed the Orochi building! Those guys are scientists and more involved in containment but are not aligned with any of the three secret societies you get to pick to join.


That's me waking up. Every since the bee with glowing pollen flew into my mouth while I slept, life has gotten very weird. Two weeks of hell. And then they came for me, just as I was finally getting a grip of the energy that seems to course through me.

They have great voice acting on the characters. And one was a giant surprise! Tim Russ! He played Tuvok on Star Trek Voyager! How cool is that?! (Went to IMDB ands starting looking at the lists of voice actors, and they got all sorts of cool people doing the voices for this! Dang!)

Hope you have a fabulous Sunday!


Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Movie Review - Spider-man: Homecoming

 

Spider-man: Homecoming

Starring: Tom Holland, Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr., Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Zendaya, Donald Glover, Laura Harrier, Tony Revolori, Bokeem Woodbine, and more.

Directed by: Jon Watts Screenplay by: Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, and Erik Sommers Based on the Comic Book by: Stan Lee and Steve Ditko Cinematography by: Salvatore Totino Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: After getting a new suit and helping out during the Civil War, Peter is dying to help again. Unfortunately, he's not getting any callbacks. But he makes do by going out every night and helping people where he can. But after tangling with a group of robbers using alien technology, he's told to stay out of it. But Peter can't let it go. (Rated  PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: Tom Holland does a nice job as Peter Parker. Michael Keaton did a fresh and cold spin on Adrian Toomes to great effect.  (His talk on the way to the prom and his picking up on things was almost creepy!) Robert Downey Jr. and Jon Favreau brought some lovely additional dimensions to the story. Nice work by all parties.

Additional kudos to Jacob Batalon. He was adorable as Peter's friend. He brought a lot to the film as well. 

Read more...Collapse )
Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Virtual Tourist - Final Fantasy XIV 7/2/17

Greetings!

Posting has been sporadic again. Between conventions and back muscle issues, it's been tough going. :P

Final Fantasy XIV



Canyon area just brushed with a bit of dawn.

Sun is now full up and heating up the zone! Ruins and a cave entrance await.

Remnants of a failed expedition by youngsters who should have known better. :P

Leader hot head. :P

The ones the hot heads tried to steal from. They are also up to no good.

Flattery will get you - everywhere! Heh heh.

A closer look at the ruins.

Valentine decorations in New Gridania.

Adorable. No?

So cute!

Hope you guys have a great day!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Virtual Tourist - Obduction 6/18/17

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day!

Obduction

Sadly, I am going to have to quit playing this gorgeous game. :( I don't know the exact reason, but every time I play it I get ill. No baud rate settings, so can't tweak that. The visual range didn't seem to make a difference. This is not the type of game you can play in 10 minutes bursts either. Waaaaahhhh!!!!

Finally made it up to a higher area ledge I could not reach before. :P

Such a cool and eerie landscape.

High above all others! Bwahahaha!

I found an odd device. What it does, I was not expecting!

Middle of doing what it does. Freaky!

It's a transporter, but not as you'd expect. Same spot, just different reality? I just went from desert scape to lush jungle.

I still see the signs I do in the other dimension/location/possibility?

Plants, moss, flowers, and more.

The path leads to this gate. Can see tantalizing things beyond but can't get in!

The transport device glows a different color from this end. So neat!

May all the Dad's out there have a fabulous Father's Day!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Movie Review - The Mummy

The Mummy

The Mummy

Starring: Tom Cruise, Russell Crowe, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Jake Johnson, Courtney B. Vance, Marwan Kenzari, Simon Atherton, and more.

Directed by: Alex Kurtzman Screenplay by: David Koepp, Christopher McQuarrie, and Dylan Kussman Screen Story by: Jon Spaihts, Alex Kurtzman, and Jenny Lumet Cinematography by: Ben Seresin Music by: Brian Tyler

Premise: A relic hunter stumbles onto a hidden chamber in Iraq. Rushed for time, he inadvertently loosens an imprisoned force. A woman with a mission she's been trying to complete for five thousand years. Nick is the one she's decided will replace the receptacle for Set stolen from her so many years ago. No one better stand in her way. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting - Total Thumbs Up: While we have some great acting powerhouses in this film, there is so much action,  little time is left for actual acting. Still, Tom Cruise does a nice job as Nick - relic hunter, thief, adventurer. Annabelle Wallis as Jenny got the biggest range to play with as she dealt with her feelings, her attractions, and her job. She did it well. Sofia Boutella made a nice sultry mummy. Jake Johnson was a ton of fun as Nick's sidekick Chris Vail. Russell Crowe's character was a rather big surprise once the two men meet and introductions are made. (He could still take some lessons from James Nesbitt's superb performance of the same character though. :) )

2) Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: There was a ton to love about the special effects in this film. Watching the credits, they used a ton of different companies. They come up with some superb images.

Ahmanet's prison and the other chambers attached to it were very cool! The Crusaders' tomb when they first find it with the tunnel maker and other sections of the place were well done!

Several special effect parts used weird spiders, tons of rats, black birds and other crawling things. They looked great.

When Ahmanet first shows herself, and the transformation after her first feedings, were enthralling. The change on those she fed on also were fantastic. When she has them rise, and the bones and joints pop and snap - creepy!

Cool sand storms, walking and swimming dead, and all the cool bits using mercury. The look and feel of the base beneath London's Natural  History Museum were great. The all important dagger was a wicked looking thing!

Lots and lots of lovely effects!

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: I go up and down on how I feel about the story. A big part of my issue with it is the presentation. While they didn't give everything away in the previews, they gave away a lot. So there was little there to give a feeling of discovery or mystery in what was going on.

They also didn't do themselves any favors by having Henry tell us all about Ahmanet at the very beginning - especially when the information got repeated all over again later as Nick has visions of the past. They could have easily found the Crusaders' tomb and the wall carvings and left it at that. Thus tantalizing the viewers to discover how the Crusaders and Ahmanet might be related. But no. We got spoonfed the information instead.

A couple of scenes, while cool, didn't make a lot of sense. Ahmanet wants her new Chosen to willingly submit to the ritual. So, how was giving him nightmares of rats and monsters was supposed to do that? Other images made sense for that, but some others did not.

Also, Nick's choice in the final room I saw coming ten minutes before he made it. DUH!

There's tons of action, and they move at breakneck speeds. There's even a quick wink/homage to Brendan Fraser's "The Mummy" in the form of the Book of Life showing up at one point. But character development is pushed way back to the background.

4) Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: The whole 'gag' in the airplane was fantastic! I felt sorry for them all. lol. The fun chase scene in the Iraqi city with bullets and grenades being used all over the place kept the stunt people quite busy and looked great. Lots of good work from the team.

5) Locations/Cinematography - Total Thumbs Up: Tons of great and real places! Waverley Abbey in the UK, London, the Natural History Museum, the Namib Desert in the country of Namibia in Africa. These great locations added lots of visual flavor to the scenes.

6) Costuming/Makeup - Total Thumbs Up: CGI mixed with real makeup gave some great looks to Ahmanet, Henry, and Vail. The writing on Ahmanet's skin alone was dazzling. When we see her close to filled out but still with gaps in various places on her face and body, it added so much! Some great contrast too between Nick and Vale in the restroom scene.

Conclusion: The Mummy is a wild ride. Great special effects and stunts. A surprise here and there. Yet a little less telling up front would have made the film more mysterious and thus more enticing to the viewers.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again.)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

Good morning!

Hope you're having a fabulous weekend!

Sherlock Holmes: The Devil's Daughter

View of the grounds and clubhouse of the archeological society.

Some giant carved rocks appropriated for the club grounds. :P

Scotland Yard - didn't change from the last game, which made the new Sherlock and Watson stand out in my mind. :P

Inside the archeological society's clubhouse. It's a neat place!

Some of the items donated by the members.

Long cross view of the clubhouse.

London's sky in the morning.

Steelworks factory for fences and statues. Also a giant puzzle on how to get into the owner's office!

An unusual bedroom belonging to one of the suspects.

Loved this thing!!!!!  A world map made of metal. Once the final piece is placed, it opens a hidden chamber inside. So cool! (Pic caught it in mid opening. :))

Have a great day!

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic
www.gloriaoliver.com

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Novels


JEWEL OF THE GODS

(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!


Excerpt:
"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."





INNER DEMONS

(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!


Excerpt:
The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."



THE PRICE OF MERCY

(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Excerpt:

Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.




CROSS-EYED DRAGON TROUBLES
(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”

Excerpt:

“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.



WILLING SACRIFICE
(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”

Excerpt:

Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”



IN THE SERVICE OF SAMURAI
(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”

Excerpt:

Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.



VASSAL OF EL
(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”

Excerpt:

Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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