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review 2017-11-14 22:08
All At Sea
All at Sea: A Memoir - Decca Aitkenhead

This book is a step-by-step in how not to behave like an adult. This woman did nothing a rational grown up would, and so I had no ability to connect with her. She left her marriage, which is fine, but she left it for a coke dealing crack smoker. And then she wants you to believe that being a dealer is boring and not all that dangerous. They play house, have 2 children and never marry (because marriage is only a piece of paper). And then it turns out he's still married to another woman. When he dies, she seems genuinely shocked she has a nightmare of logistics on her hands. Yes, honey, that's what happens when you don't marry a man but instead just intertwine your lives. His will left everything to his legal wife.

 

Plus, most of this book was just circling the drain of her constant sorrow. With pretty words. Lots and lots of pretty words. Over 200 pages, and there wasn't much substance. Just "my love died and my life is over and my kids are out of control". She had a down-her-nose view of anyone of faith, she wouldn't let the kids call her Mum, and she epitomized the idea you can be educated and still be dumb.

 

I'm proud of myself for finishing this.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-11-14 10:15
October 2017 — A Belated Wrap-Up!

 

Originally published at midureads.wordpress.com on November 14, 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Things are starting to get just a bit darker and the stakes higher when it comes to Ms. Marvel’s life! She has to think whether she should be blindly following orders, even if they do come from someone she has looked up to all her life:

 

She has to concede that she can’t go fight crime somewhere she hasn’t lived long enough to understand what is happening:

 

 

She realizes that others can be surprisingly kind even when they don’t have to be:

 

 

We are also shown a glimpse of her ancestors migrating during the Partition of the Subcontinent in 1947:

 

 

 

As hauntingly beautiful as ever! A good installment where we finally discover that people who loved Maika do exist! She remains her courageous self throughout the story.

 

 

 

Review to come later.

 

 

Read my review and the status of Project Frankenstein.

 

 

As long as you expect the MC not to talk to each other and resolve the major conflict in two pages or one of them just picking up and leaving the other to”protect them” or the big baddie being dealt with in the last two pages, you will enjoy this series. I do, so I did! The humor shines through in the books and I love reading them when I need something funny and light. My favorite quote from the book:

 

 

 

 

Simply beautiful and so on point with the current events that it is scary! These four issues are just the beginning though. I hope it continues to be this awesome. Here are some scenes for you to feast your eyes on:

 

 

 

 

Take a cute cozy mystery and add some seriously messed up and furious ghosts to it and you will have created Southern Spirits. I liked the upping of the violence level, which kept this book from becoming just another cozy mystery. I also liked that the MC didn’t wait around and got down to work even when she was quaking in her boots. My favorite quote from the book:

 

 

 

 

Read my review here.

 

 

So, this is one of those instances where not reading the book blurb or any reader reviews came back to bite me in the ass! The story is the original Mary Shelley story; this book has simply some steampunkish art strewn about. Visually appealing? Hell yeah! Original? Not so much! Even so, I can now cross off this book from my list.

 

 

Review to come later.

 

 

 

While playing Work Book Bingo, I got: A Book Purchased for its Cover. That was when the misery began! I looked around in all my bookshelves trying to spot a book that I had purchased just for that reason. There weren’t any.So, I searched my Kobo library and this was the best that I could come up with.

 

I had so many issues with this book that began with the inclusion of overused tropes and ended at a TSTL protag. Yeah, I didn’t like it and these quotes can easily show why:

Ciardis gave her a look like a deer facing the glow of a bright lantern in the dark forest.

(after talking about candidates dying of asphyxiation)…I hope I never hear of such a thing happening with you, Ciardis.”

“No, of course not!”

Prince Heir or not, Sebastian’s hand-kissing technique, with a bit too much saliva involved, left a lot to be desired.

There was a scene from the book where a prophecy is made about one of the characters coming into enough power to “rend the Empire asunder”. On hearing it, the characters remained unaffected and the prophecy wasn’t even mentioned again!

There was a sprinkling of terms like the Madrassa and Hammam that have an Arabic origin. Yet the worldbuilding included none of the other elements common to Middle Eastern culture.

 

The protag gets whole dossiers full of information about her patrons-to-be. They mention everything about the persons in question. Yet they fail to mention that one of them, a General, has a bastard son who is also a mage. How do you leave out that important a bit of information? If the information gatherers didn’t know, then what good were they?

 

The protag had to undergo a 3-day long contest that would decide if she is worthy of a patron or not. One of the rules for the contest was that the activities of the first day must be hidden from her yet she could be told what would happen in the next two days. I mean, why? Was the author simply making it up as they went?

 

Another major character, the Prince Heir (who gives hand-kisses with too much saliva) went on a quest. This quest was supposed to unite him with the land he is to rule. Yet…yet…he forgot to take matches with him to light a lantern as part of the ceremony in that quest. WHY?! Oh wait, he also forgot to pack a knife that he would need for the bloodletting part of the same ritual.

 

 

A fun if a bit slow paced cozy mystery.

 

 

 

A short, classic horror read. It wasn’t even marginally close to the world-changing Frankenstein, which was also written during the same horror story writing “contest”. Yet I liked it! Like the vampires of old, this one also exuded an aura of evil that affected its victims immensely more than the actual drinking of blood did.

 

Image 

Image 2

 

 

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review 2017-10-31 02:14
Dance With Me (Dancing #1) (Audiobook)
Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

I don't know why I took so long to listen to this, but I really enjoyed it. Ed is trying to get his life back on track after a major injury sidelined him from playing football ever again, and Laurie (short for Laurence) has been hiding from performing while teaching at a community center. They're both at odds with themselves, and initially with each other until they rediscover their love of dance together.

 

I have a few minor quibbles with some of the early plotting, but overall I really enjoyed watching Laurie and Ed getting over their initial dislike of each other through dance and how they were able to help each other find that thing that's been missing in their lives. I liked that their challenges were believable and didn't just magically disappear because of love. Ed still has a serious neck injury. Laurie still has a long road before he's fully comfortable performing again. 

 

This was my first narration by Iggy Toma and he was great. I really loved the nuance he gave to his performance and the characters, and he captured them all well. He speaks clearly and with feeling, and makes the story come alive. I look forward to more stories read by him. 

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review 2017-10-24 03:44
The Rebuilding Year (The Rebuilding Year #1) (Audiobook)
The Rebuilding Year - Kaje Harper,Kaje Harper,Gomez Pugh

My review for the book is here (spoilers in the link, so beware):

 

http://linda78.booklikes.com/post/972976/the-rebuilding-year-the-rebuilding-year-1

 

So this'll just be for the narration. 

 

I was introduced to Gomez Pugh with the PsyCop audios, like nearly most others were, and I loved them! With the exception of Jacob's voice, he was perfection for that series and for Vic, so I had high hopes when I saw this book would be narrated by him. I know he's done other books besides PsyCop but this was my first experience of him doing new material. And it did not live up to expectations.

 

Technically, he's as good as ever. He's clear, precise and easy to follow, and there's no confusion about POV. Performance wise, he doesn't differentiate between voices very much, and for the first half of the book at least he's doing Jacob's voice for John. He finally settles into it and gives John his own voice, and it does improve from there. But this isn't the performance I've come to expect from him from PsyCop. 

 

A good solid reading, but somewhat lacking performance = 3 stars from me.

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review 2017-10-21 22:41
Game/Interactive story review: Tacoma

 

I suppose you could call Tacoma an adventure game, although it more of an interactive story than a game. There are a few instances where you need to figure out people’s passcodes, but they’re so easy to figure out that they don’t really count as puzzles.

You play as Amy Ferrier, a contractor sent to Tacoma station by Venturis, the company that owns Tacoma. A short while ago an accident happened and the station, which had housed six human employees, one AI named ODIN, and a cat, is now abandoned. Your job is to explore the station and retrieve AI-recorded data and ODIN’s wetware.

The AI-recorded data takes the form of recordings that your augmented reality device allows you to see as though you’re glimpsing into the station’s past. All the characters are represented by colored silhouettes of themselves. You can rewind and fastforward in order to follow different people and occasionally access their emails and other files.

I can’t say too much about the story because it’s fairly simple and it’d be too easy to give everything away. The big question, as you’re playing, is what happened and whether anyone survived. Although you play as Amy, you aren’t privy to her thoughts. She knows more about the situation and what’s going on than you do, but it’s okay, because nothing in the game prevents you from taking as much time as you’d like in each area of the station. Just make sure you don’t leave a particular part of the station until you’ve done everything you want to do - I’m fairly certain you can’t go back or, if you can, AR data will no longer be accessible in that area.

As you travel through the station, you learn more about each of the characters: E.V., the station administrator; Clive, the operations specialist; Natali, the network specialist; Roberta (Bert), the mechanical engineer; Andrew, the botanist; and Sareh, the medic. You also get to see them interact with ODIN and, if you purchased the game through Steam, you can try to find the station cat in order to get one of the Steam achievements. I had fun trying to think of where the cat might decide to nap in each area, although I did worry that I'd end up witnessing its death. (Spoiler:

the cat makes it through just fine.)

(spoiler show)


The cast is diverse, both in terms of race and sexual orientation. As you look through their belongings (to whatever degree you’d like - I was curious and it didn’t feel too creepy, so I looked through every drawer and locker I could), you find out more about how they all got along and what their problems and issues were. My favorite character out of the bunch was probably Sareh, who had anxiety and panic attacks due to an event in her past, but who was still competent and professional despite that. I really liked her and ODIN’s interactions, even as I worried about ODIN being the only one she could confide in.

As someone who loves AI characters, I enjoyed ODIN and I loved the role he played in the story. I did find myself wishing for a bit more from him - players don’t get much of his perspective until the very end of the game.

Tacoma is very short. Even though I spent quite a bit of time exploring and looking at unimportant things like random packages, wrappers, and coffee mugs, I finished the whole thing (minus a few Steam achievements) in about four hours. That said, my biggest complaint about the game wasn’t the length, but rather how playing the game affected me physically.

When I first started, I couldn’t play for more than 20 minutes or so before developing headaches and nausea. I tried messing with the Gameplay and Graphics settings, turning off “head bob” and trying out different FOV settings, but it only seemed to help a little. The best solution I found was actually remembering to wear my glasses while playing. I don’t usually wear them at home and rarely wear them while watching TV or playing games, and it almost never causes a problem. In this case, though, it turns out they were vital. They never completely got rid of my headache and nausea problem, but without them I’d probably still be creeping my way through the game in 20-minute increments.

All in all, this was a simple and fairly short story told in a fascinating way. I loved getting to find out what happened in bits and pieces via AR data, files, notes, ads, and emails. Although I found myself wishing that the story had been a little bit more flexible and allowed for other endings, I was happy with the one ending players were given.

 

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

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