logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Bisexual
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-08-06 04:22
Visual novel review - Animal Lover

 

Warning: this game includes a death, references to suicide, and references to homophobic bullying.

Animal Lover is a visual novel created by Trainwreck Studios. It's primarily fantasy with some romance aspects later on. There's no sex, not even fade-to-black, implied, or text-only - the romance is limited to a date and an on-screen kiss or two. I considered this a plus. If you're particularly interested in games with LGBT aspects, one of the romanceable guys is revealed to probably be bisexual later on in the game (I say "probably" because the word is never used, but he does talk about a past relationship with another guy).

Now for the summary: You play as Lucy (the default character name, which you can change), an intern at a veterinary clinic. Lucy loves animals and is immediately charmed by the hamster a little girl brings into the clinic. Because it reminds her so much of the hamster she used to have, Lucy briefly forgets herself and gives him a little kiss before putting him back in his cage. Shockingly, the little hamster then transforms into a human being. A good-looking and very naked young man.

The hamster’s owners run out in horror, leaving Lucy to figure out what to do with the guy, whose name turns out to be Edmund. Edmund used to be a prince until he was transformed into a hamster (or something very like one) hundreds of years ago. Since then, he has repeatedly lived and died as a hamster, with no end in sight. Until now. Lucy agrees to help him find and free another human-turned-animal, eventually resulting in her having to clothe, feed, and house five good-looking guys from a variety of time periods. Not only that, but it looks like her kisses don’t have a permanent effect: a random guy keeps transforming back into an animal each time the sun sets. They need to figure out a way to undo the curse for good. Especially before Charlie, whose animal form was a bear, transforms.

I’d seen this game on Steam a bunch of times but kept passing on it because the art style didn’t appeal to me. Then, during a sale, I read a few reviews written by people who said they had also disliked the art style and still ended up liking the game, so I decided to take a chance on it.

I’ll start off by saying that it takes a long time for this game to get going. My first full play through, the only one where I read all of the text, took somewhere between 5 and 5.5 hours. I didn’t keep track, but I think it might have taken an hour and a half for all the guys to be introduced and remember how they’d been cursed, at least half the game before they made some headway on figuring out what to do about it, and two thirds before romance really entered the picture. While I was a little frustrated with how long it took for all the main characters to join the story, the rest didn’t bother me quite as much because I enjoyed the characters’ conversations and banter. Your mileage may vary.

Gameplay is simple - this isn’t a stat raising visual novel. There are a variety of decision points where you have to choose between different dialogue options or actions, and that’s it. You’re not technically locked into a particular guy’s route until you decide which one you’d like to spend an afternoon (day?) with approximately two thirds of the way through the game, although certain responses earlier on will affect when one particular thing happens and, in the case of one character, whether you can get his “good” ending.

Lucy has five romantic options: Edmund, who used to be a prince several hundred years ago and was transformed into a hamster; Frankie, a car mechanic from the 1950s who was transformed into a cat; Kyle, an anarchist punk rocker from the 1980s (if I remember right) who was transformed into a ferret; Miguel, a football player from the 1990s (again, not sure if I’m remembering this right) who was transformed into a dog; and Charlie, who was only transformed into a bear a year ago and who owns a website designed to help indie bands/musicians sell their music.

During my first playthrough, I focused on Miguel and Charlie and decided to have Lucy go out with Charlie when I was finally asked to make a decision. And that’s when the game became more than just lots of laid back conversations and funny moments and really hooked me. I mean, I enjoyed the humor, I enjoyed Lucy’s strong personality, and I liked most of the guys, but for a while there I was sure my final verdict was going to be that this was simply an okay visual novel.

I had thought that the guys’ explanations about how and why they’d been transformed sounded pretty weak, but I hadn’t realized how much they’d been holding back until Charlie told me the full truth about his transformation. Then the

“Last Living Punk Rocker” chapter happened, and it was like a gut punch. I wanted to go back, choose Kyle, and fix everything. (FYI: there’s no way to make that chapter not happen. Sorry. But things can get better, depending on your past and future choices. I promise.)

(spoiler show)


There are essentially seven endings: one “good” ending for each of the guys, one “I don’t forgive you” ending where Lucy ends up single, and one “you can’t be serious, where’s the ‘good’ ending?” ending for

Kyle

(spoiler show)

. Although it’s fairly obvious that the “Lucy ends up single” ending isn’t the way you’re supposed to want things to go, I appreciated that Lucy had clearly started to move on with her life and wasn’t a wreck, and that the guys had accepted her choice. It didn’t feel like a “bad” ending, aside from the whole thing with Kyle (which is present in four of the five “good” endings, anyway).

I’ve only managed to get three of the five guys (Charlie, Frankie, and Kyle) to tell me the full truth about why they were transformed, although I imagine it’s possible to get all of them to talk to you depending on your choices. It bugged me a little that, in order for any of the romances to work out, Lucy had to decide in an instant whether she forgave the guy for what he’d done or didn’t. A day of processing time would have been nice. That said, I liked that each of the “I forgive” dialogues explicitly recognized that the guys had done something bad, something that counted as a potential relationship red flag. Those “I forgive” moments were also a lot better if the guys had admitted what they’d done earlier on, rather than waiting for their secret to forcibly be revealed later. As much as I liked and felt for Miguel, for example, it irked me that I had to hear the full truth from someone else. I’ll probably do another playthrough with an eye towards getting him to tell me what he’d done.

All in all, this packed more of a punch than I expected it would. Parts with

Kyle

(spoiler show)

flat out made me cry - I became way more invested in him than I expected I would. And I’ll probably be thinking about the game’s “forgiveness” aspect for quite some time, even though it didn’t 100% work for me.

Additional Comments:

  • If you want to use an actual "Save" slot and not the "Quick" of "Auto" save slots, you need to right-click on the screen to do that - the Save button just does "Quick" saves.
  • There's no art gallery. Although the artwork didn't appeal to me at first, it eventually grew on me, so this bugged me. I'd have liked to save a few scenes. My favorites: Kyle's first appearance, Kyle's kissing scene, and Miguel's kissing scene (wow, that height difference).

 

Rating Note:

 

For a large portion of my first playthrough, I thought I'd be giving this 3.5 stars. There were spots where I got really impatient and just wanted things to move along - the first half of the story really could have used some tightening up. However, this is one of those visual novels that actually seemed to improve with each playthrough (keeping in mind that I made liberal use of the "skip read text" button). I could see myself rereading the full thing (aiming for the "canon" ending) sometime in the future.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

 

I'll end this with one of my favorite spoiler-free screenshots. Kyle is the cutest and wildest little ferret.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-26 06:38
Consider me impressed... again!
The Poison Within: An Order Universe Short Story (Inspector Skaer Book 1) - Kasia Bacon
FOUR HEARTS--And once again, I'm impressed with this author's writes.



Two for two, both short stories that left me wanting more but enjoyed the hell at what was given.

Set in the Order universe, a fantasy based world with supernatural beings and humans coincide, The Poison Withinis another creation from the author where the characters took a mind of their own.

And I'm not mad at it.

In fact, I need to send a bottle of bubbly to those blokes for getting their stories, or should say, start of their stories out for public consumption.

Clandestine human lovers of two years, low born Inspector Käyru Skaer has been meeting whenever he can with his lover, Count Ellydhar Finn-Jánn. Käyru worries that his lower class status will call an end to this love affair with his "Elly". He knows one of these days Elly will wise up and leave him, even if it would crush his heart. He'd let his lover go. He tries to hide his feelings and takes all that he can get. Did I mention there is a noted size difference? And D/s undertones? Someone has a penchant for writing hints of D/s.

*stares*

The world they live in is xenophobic, some humans regard non-humans are lesser. Political warfare and unjust treatment runs rampant. Case in fact, nymphs are living on Elly's land due to being ousted by a power hungry, racist power that fuels on scaring the masses (sounds familiar?) Käyru is called on duty from his lover's thighs to a solve a multiple murder. And it gets a little graphic when described which I liked.

The suspense is very quick. Justice is met swiftly--hooray! And we're introduced to a new being, cousin to the vampire, the Furia. What they can do is cool! (And if this character shows up in future works, I'll have excite)

I can go either way with established couples. This couple wasn't boring in the least. The story is told from the Inspector's POV, so the reader has to rely on his feelings for Elly to get a sense of their relationship.


I craved his proximity to a degree that would've been mortifying if I hadn't long stopped caring about hiding my want for him.


I thought the author succeeded on that front. There was even snatches of snark. I don't want to include my fave snippet as it'd give away a key part to the action/suspense bit.

Now my nitpick: despite the story being short, there were two instances where the scene ended weird. Like there was either something more to be said or done or shown. Both instances are when Inspector Skaer leaves Elly. The last time, after such a pivotal moment, seemed off. The love of his life just survived, and he leaves quietly? It's a minor nitpick and most likely a me thing. The inspector has a bit of an issue with his self confidence with his lover... so it could just be his way,

This is the start of a serial, by the way. The story ends with: to be continued . After 'the end', has there ever been more cursed words?

The writing is sharp. The sense of setting is just right. The story has a way of pulling the reader in. This story has a little bit of a lot of things I enjoy reading: hint of kink, strong main characters, interesting worldbuilding, cool concepts and a hint of dark. (I wonder how dark this author could get, hm?)

A suggestion as this world and the beings seem to be intricate; a glossary of the types of beings wouldn't hurt. Especially if there are going to be more detours from the main event.

I've fold my napkin.

I'm holding my utensils.

I'm waiting super patiently.



So patiently.

Consider me there once the novel drops, which I hope is soon. Or maybe I'll need to chat with the characters a bit, ask them to plague the author.

The Order universe has facets. I'm curious to read them all. And looks like I'm victim of another serial. ;D

Recommended.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-24 11:36
This author has skills! Urban fantasy lovers might want to check it out
Warlock in Training - T.J. Nichols
  4.5 HEARTS--I knew this author's first novel would be great. It was magical.



This isn't my first T.J. Nichols; all previous works were urban fantasy/ paranormal short stories: The Vampire's Dinner and A Wolf's Resistance . Both works had great world building and paranormal ideas. The same can be said for Warlock in Training. But what I wanted to see is what the author could do with something novel length.

Not disappointed.

Earth has changed, new countries have formed and magic is known. Well I should say warlocks and wizards are real on Earth, or Humanside. The Earth is continuing to change, forget global warming, it's approaching an ice age. Most of the population doesn't know what the cause is for it. Warlocks are believed to be the saviors to stop it, But what they don't want people to know is they're the culprits. Magic exists in Humanside and Demonside, a second world where demons and other paranormal beings live. Demonside is experiencing extreme global warming, the world turning into a desert, water is scarce. Do these changes share something in common?

Wizards practice magic without using demons. Warlocks on the other hand drain demons for their magic to be more power, have stronger magic. Wizards are looked down on in the magical society. Warlocks are the upper echelon, the 1% if you will.

Nineteen year old ginger Angus Donohue doesn't want to be a warlock, despite his prestigious warlock family history. His father is forced him to attend warlock college and threatened him not embarrass the family name or him. Angus doesn't even want to summon a demon during a requisite class and tries to fail.

And that's where the magic begins.

Enter demon Saka (I am 1000% for him). He chooses Angus despite Angus trying to fail and takes him to Demonside across the void (the bridge between the two worlds). Points to the story being dual POV. Both worlds are too interesting not to immerse yourself in.

The cover is so fitting! Because I think Angus has the potential to be the bridge.

Saka is a demon mage and is trying to help his world. He's smart, calm and wicked with a knife. He shows Angus there is more to life and magic. I couldn't help but imagine Saka something like Hellboy (black horns instead, no hair, the similar skin tone)



I always try to find a Hellboy in demons I read about. LOL

Saka teaches different types of magic: soul, blood and sex. Saka's really great at the last two.

A lot of urban fantasy, tends to have an alpha type as the lead. Not the case in Warlock in Training. Angus is nineteen and reads nineteen - unsure of himself, still learning his place in the world, exploring relationships with potential partners. But he's not the typical teenager. Demonside helps open his eyes.

There is a battle between two magical worlds that felt similar to what the political and global feel is right now. The 1% is ruining both worlds, damn the results as long as they're in power. It's magical politics. People are dying for a cause that does not benefit the greater good. The ones in charge lie to the masses and attacks any form of resistance.

But there is a resistance.



And it's growing.

The book ends with a cliffhanger of sorts. There are loose threads that need to be answered. Such as who really is in charge? Why the harvesting of so much power? The suspense is well written.

Before jumping all over this, I feel I should warn potential readers of possible triggers/deal breakers: There are romantic undertones rather than a defined romance. Both main characters have sex with other people (But I feel I should explain demons have different views on 'relationships' - monogamy is not the norm,) There were brief MF moments. (Also, didn't mind. The moments were a blip on the entire scale of things) Cutting is practiced for magical purposes.

How erotic does this get? There is on page sex but don't expect pages of a drawn out sex scene. (Quite happy about that, it can be a chore to read drawn out pages) The relationship between Saka and Angus is still forming, is kinda fluid. There is another character that has a potential of maybe making this a love/lust triangle. It's not romantic. More as a means to an end but there is potential for deeper feelings. Sex on Demonside can be and is used for ritualistic needs. If you are a reader who needs the one and only, I would say to approach with caution. Because the way the sex, relationship and openness is written fits the characters. And they struggle. But it's secondary to the world building, action and suspense.

I want to rate this all the hearts but I have tiny issues, pretty minor. Technically, the story reads well. But I feel some of the chapters ended in odd spots. I like the fact the chapters aren't overly long but some ended with where it could have just combined with half of the next chapter for better impact.

But I see this book as the foundation for more to come. War is approaching. What side are you on? Will the resistance win?

Bonus was that this book stars my favorite paranormal beings: DEMONS!



And a ginger warlock! It was like it was written just for me. ;P

Fans of urban fantasy should definitely check this series out because the world building is tops. The author obvious is an urban fantasy fan and it shows in their work. The first third is mostly building. The other two thirds are fast paced and filled with intrigue. My heart started to crumble in the last 5-8% but the author pulled it through.

I am so there for this series! And I'm definitely a fan of this author after this. It's 3 out of 3 for me!

Recommended.



A copy provided for an honest review.

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-11 03:09
Just Juliet
Just Juliet - Charlotte Reagan

This was just okay. It was all very...nice. And simple. And low angst. All problems were safely in the past. All new problems were easily surmounted and quickly put behind them.

 

The first third was promising. Lena finds out she's attracted to a girl, doesn't freak out, does some googling and instead of going GFY figures out she's bisexual. So that was good. The James's are a great, fun, close-knit family. Lena and Juliet's first date was pretty rad and adorable.

 

And then it just sort of meanders and keeps going way past the point it should have ended because there really wasn't much of a plot. It goes through all the tradition coming out tropes - telling the bestie, telling the family, telling the world - but there's no real emotion to anything. We're told what Lena's feeling, but I never felt it myself. Scott and Lakyn were...confusing. Scott is a well-rounded character and very mature and provides Lena with some good advice. Lakyn, who has been through some terrible times, is shy and a jerk and whenever he speaks, I kept seeing him as twelve instead of seventeen. But as a couple, other than being the cute gay couple, they didn't really add anything to the story.

 

The writing is technically pretty good, though dry, just a few stray typos and just one or two questionable word choices. There's a lot of telling in the later part of the book, versus showing. The characters are pretty one-note, and the way Lacey, the "token black kid," is introduced doesn't get improved upon as the story progresses. I know all these kids are, well, kids, but even my friends weren't throwing around this many sexist slurs when we were that age. Every single time any girl (usually Lacey) did anything questionable or assertive or not-nice, she's described as bitchy. Really? I don't know if the author is aware of the "black girls are more promiscuous" stereotype, but Lacey unfortunately inhabits that too. And the gay "jokes" were pretty terrible and also usually spoken by Lacey. Lacey just gets terrible treatment through most of the book. For a "gay friendly" book, there is a lot of low-key homophobia. 

 

This started promising but just became meh by the end and I had to force myself to finish.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-03-06 06:35
Laissez les bons temps rouler, bebe!
Lagniappe: An Iron Lace Story - Mercy Celeste

 

Laissez les bons temps rouler, bebe!



Whoo boy, was this an unexpected surprise from MC.
A Jizzmas gift from a fave MC couple, Darcy and Caleb (Remy)!

Mercy Celeste is my kinda comfort read: hot times between passionate guys and dramatics to keep the page turning.

And for less than 100 pgs, we get just that.

Lagniappe starts months later from the ending of Behind Iron Lace. The couple is going strong in Oregon. But Darcy is Darcy, clueless and trying to help everyone. And Caleb's new restaurant & bar is almost open.

But their exes won't let the lovebirds be great. Jealousies, light OTT antics and a plot twist that you could see a mile coming happens in this Jizzmas tale. Throw in insatiable sex and chemistry when their exes aren't testing Darcy and Caleb's limits.

The ending isn't one I saw coming (for a pair of secondary characters). I'm kinda happy with it. Expect twists

a baby!

(spoiler show)



This is an erotic glimpse in the future. The Cajun is just as hot and volatile. *grins*

There were a few editing issues but I didn't care. I came for Darcy and Caleb and their hot loving.

And it's what I got.

Also, I'd like to thank my secret Jizzmas Santa for getting me this. You're A++++!

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?