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text 2017-11-23 15:59
Back from vacation!

[Reposted from my Blogger blog, with a few edits.]

 

I've actually been back for a few days. I just hadn't settled down to write this post.

So, vacation could have gone better. I got sick a few days in and spent a few days with a fiery sore throat, a cough, and a fever. I had to cancel a lunch with a friend/former supervisor because my voice kept going in and out, and unfortunately that was the only day she could meet with me. There was one miserable 3 AM where I woke up thirsty and discovered I couldn't drink more than a tiny sip of room temperature water. Hot water with honey mixed into it (because I was too tired to make herbal tea) was my savior.

I still have a cough, and there are some problems with a filling I got on Monday, but otherwise things are better.

Although I didn't get quite as much reading done during my vacation as I would have liked (I had a stack of Haikyu!! that I never touched, plus Naruto and some leftoever Natsume's Book of Friends and Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun), I still managed to get a respectable amount of reading done. If my count is correct, I finished 43 manga and graphic novel volumes, one short story, and one book (that I'd started prior to my vacation but finished during).

Here are the spoiler-y posts you can look forward to in the coming weeks (I will, of course, slap spoiler tags on them when I post them here on Booklikes - no worries):

  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: The Mad Hatter's Late Night Tea Party (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Alice in the Country of Hearts: My Fanatic Rabbit (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Arisa (manga, vols. 2-12)
  • Black Butler (manga, vols. 21-23)
  • Delicious in Dungeon (manga, vols. 1-2)
  • Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto (manga, vol. 2)
  • Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft (graphic novel, vol. 1)
  • M.F.K. (graphic novel, not sure if it's a one-shot or vol. 1)
  • Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun (manga, vols. 4-5)
  • My Neighbor Seki (manga, vols. 1-6)
  • Natsume's Book of Friends (manga, vols. 11-13)
  • Orange: The Complete Collection (manga, vol. 1)
  • Skip Beat! (manga, vols. 37-39)
  • Tokyo Ghoul (manga, vols. 1-5)

 

Next time I go on vacation, I'd definitely like to continue Black Butler, Locke & Key, Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, Natsume's Book of Friends, Orange (if I don't request the next and I think final volume through ILL between now and then), Skip Beat!, and Tokyo Ghoul. I'll rerequest Haikyu!! and Naruto, too.

As for the rest: I think I might finally have read the last of Alice in the Country of Hearts/Clover/Joker/etc. Delicious in Dungeon was okay, but not something I'd want to binge-read. I really shouldn't have continued Haven't You Heard? I'm Sakamoto - for me, the series is like looking on in horror as the weirdest and most disturbing insect I've ever seen crawls across my carpet. It's something to do with the art style, I think, since the actual content isn't really that horrifying. And My Neighbor Seki is definitely not one of those series to binge-read. It'd work best in small amounts, and trying to get through 6 volumes at once was a mistake on my part.

Other things I finished:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper (e-short story) by Charlotte Perkins Gilman - Free through Project Gutenberg. Strange and a little creepy. Very good, although I have lots of questions.
  • Alliance in Blood (e-book) by Ariel Tachna - I went from "this isn't great, but not the worst thing I've ever read" to "this is very bad." It started in the introduction, when the author wrote about how she'd "proudly" never read any vampire stories, and culminated with insta-love, a plodding story, and a wooden and boring big battle. The author may have thought that this story was too big to fit into a single book, but I have a feeling a good editor could have combined the first two or three books in the series into something much better than Alliance in Blood.

 

And visual novels! I "finished" one and got started on another in the few days between flying back and going back to work. I believe that both can be played on Apple or Android devices, although one is definitely best played on a phone rather than on a tablet.

  • The Arcana (game) - I may write a more thorough review, but for now my impression is that it's quite good. The artwork is lovely and the routes are interesting. I had things I liked about each of the three romanceable characters. The app's main problems are 1) the pricing structure (if you want access to the entire thing at any time without waiting, be prepared to pay $60+), 2) the amount of waiting (it takes 8 hours to get a new key so that you can read another chapter, and you can only have a maximum of 3 keys saved up), and 3) its incompleteness (it's a serial that's still ongoing - no clue when it will be complete).
  • Mystic Messenger (game) - Again, I may write a more thorough review later, but for now I'm loving this app, with some reservations. It takes place over the course of 11 real-time days, and it assumes that you have a daily schedule that's busiest from 9ish to 6ish but that still allows you multiple breaks to check your phone. If I could ask for one improvement, it would be for the app to allow users to enter their work/school schedules. At any rate, I will probably end up paying for a calling card for all of the characters, and for the bit that allows you to romance a couple extra characters. The Common route lasts a few days, after which you're locked into a particular character. I couldn't decide between Zen (a flirty but kind of lonely actor) and Jaehee (an efficient but overworked assistant, and the game's only woman aside from the player character), and apparently my indecision pushed me more towards Jaehee's route, so that's what I'm currently playing. From what I've read, it's a friendship route rather than a romantic one, and I'm really enjoying it so far. Jaehee's a great character, and I'm rooting for her happiness (even though she dislikes cats).
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text 2017-06-14 01:10
Want to try a visual novel?

I broke down and bought the Humble Sekai Project Bundle*, which reminded me that gifting Steam keys is possible. So, if anyone wants one, let me know. From what I can tell, all it involves is sending the person you're gifting an activation code to a URL, which I could do through a message here on Booklikes.

 

Here's what I have, plus a little info:

 

- fault - milestone one & fault - milestone two side:above - (Windows, Mac OS X, or SteamOS + Linux) So far I've only played the first part - the story was so-so but the music and artwork were wonderful. This one would be very simple for those who are new to visual novels - you're only asked to make a decision once in the entire story, and your decision barely affects anything. The basic storyline: in order to save the princess she's guarding, a bodyguard magically transports her to what she thinks is a safe location, only to discover that they've ended up in a land with hardly any magic. In Part 1 they try to get back home and end up working to save a girl that everyone keeps insisting isn't really a person. I assume Part 2 involves their efforts to defeat the enemies who attacked them back in their homeland.

 

- WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.01 & WORLD END ECONOMiCA episode.02 (the first two parts out of three total) - (This one is weird - Episode 1 works with Windows, Mac OS X, or SteamOS + Linux, while Episode 2 only works with Windows) Like fault - milestone, this is another one that would be pretty easy for visual novel newbies. I've played an hour of Episode 1, and there were no choices during that entire time. That said, this is my least favorite of the bunch, even though it's authored by the same person who wrote the Spice and Wolf light novel series. I can't remember anything about the story, but it's supposed to be a sci-fi/economic thriller. I have vague memories of the main character being an absolute jerk, but maybe this gets better as the story progresses?

 

Not from the Sekai Project bundle, but another visual novel for which I have a giftable Steam key (actually TWO giftable Steam keys, for some reason):

 

- Hatoful Boyfriend - (Windows, Mac OS X, or SteamOS + Linux) Arguably the best visual novel in this bunch that I'm gifting, although it takes a bit more work than the other ones since there are actual choices and multiple endings. This visual novel is a joke that morphed into something wonderful. You play as a human girl in a post-apocalyptic world. You are attending a prestigious school for birds and, depending on your decisions, you can romance one of several birds. The game allows you to see what each of your romantic options might look like if they were human, but only once. After that it's all birds. I never got around to finishing this one (and am a little leery of the route involving the murderous school doctor), but one of my top favorite birds is Nageki, the mourning dove. He's a tragic sweetie.

 

 

* And I just saw a discussion for this bundle which makes me question the wisdom of buying it. Many people asking "which ones are porn?" and much talk of 18+ patches. I don't intend to download the patches and will just cross my fingers that the titles that most interested me have at least halfway decent stories and are more than just porn vehicles. I mean, hey, fault - milestone one had nothing that looked like censored porn-y bits and, in fact, absolutely no dudes trying to romance the female main characters. It can't be the only decent title out of the bunch, right? Here's hoping...

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url 2017-06-07 19:35
Humble Sekai Project Bundle

The bundles, they all speak to me this week. You know Fault - Milestone One that I just reviewed? It's in here. Same with Fault - Milestone Two (which I already bought, darn it). I'm iffy about a lot of the other stuff in this bundle, though. The only other one I'm familiar with is World End Economica, which I'm probably never going to manage to finish. If I remember correctly, the male POV character considers doing something awful to the main female character. I can't remember the details, but it was so off-putting that I haven't played the game since.

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review 2017-06-01 04:15
Visual novel review - Robo-Tea: 1 Sip!

 

[Robo-Tea: 1 Sip! is a short free visual novel, available here.]

 

I had a crappy day at work. I needed to de-stress but couldn’t seem to concentrate on anything, so I decided to give the last full Robo-Tea game I hadn’t yet played a shot (that just leaves one demo, and I’m trying not to touch it since I’d prefer to play the full game once it’s out).

And hey, it worked! I’m still not feeling 100%, but I can concentrate enough to write this review and I no longer feel like I’m at the edge of frustrated tears. The Robo-Tea games are magical oases of sweetness and calm.

Robo-Tea: 1 Sip! takes place sometime after Robo-Tea: 1 Cup! It’s very short and not much happens, along the lines of Robo-Tea: Misten Minicups, but in this case the few choices you’re able to make actually do have an effect on the game. Just like in Robo-Tea: 1 Cup!, you play as Gal. The game only has two choices total for each route. Your first choice determines which robot Gal is on another date with, Vals or Revek. The game only has three endings total, one for Vals and two for Revek (a bit of a bummer for Vals fans, but I’m a Revek girl so ha!). However! One of the choices for Vals results in an incredibly adorable image of Gal, so I think that helps make up for Vals only having one ending.

There isn’t really much more to say. Gal and Vals/Revek drink sparkle shakes together, talk about a future date, and are all generally adorable. I think I preferred Gal + Vals over Gal + Revek this time around, because of that cute picture and Vals’ offer for their next date. However, Gal + Revek was still pretty good. Oh, I love Revek.

If you want a sweet and simple visual novel with cute candy-colored graphics and no wrong choices, check this out. But start with Robo-Tea: 1 Cup! so that Vals and Revek are more than just random robots Gal happens to be dating. A part of the appeal of this game was its continuation of the relationships from the first game. Gal and Vals were definitely more comfortable with each other, and while there was a bit of awkwardness with Revek (depending on which option you went with), it was a nice kind of awkwardness.

 

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

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text 2017-04-05 05:45
Visual novels, continued

I just learned about a visual novel, PacaPlus, in which the main character dates a girl who has magically transformed into an alpaca. I admit, it's hitting some of the same buttons that prompted me to get Hatoful Boyfriend, the visual novel in which you date actual pigeons (you are kindly permitted to see them as humans the first time you meet them, but after that it's all birds). And Hatoful Boyfriend actually turned out to be pretty good, despite having initially been created as a joke. So...maybe there will be weird alpaca romance in my future.

 

I'm still working on Roommates. At the moment, I've finished up all but one of Anne's options and then I suppose I'll move on to Max (meh). It's working out to about 1-3 hours per route. I'm a bit bummed that, even in the world of this game, library budget cuts are a thing. ::sigh::

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