Tag Archives: review

I actually beat a Zelda game in under a year.

I beat Zelda: A Link Between Worlds this weekend on my 3ds1. While I have played many Zelda games on my many Game Boys, it’s the first Zelda game that I have ever beat that I can remember, and without having to go back to it ages later.

I played for just about 24 hours total. Starting from Christmas, I played it exclusively. I dumped Mario and Luigi: Dream Team2 to play it, since I hadn’t beat it yet. My mother-in-law got me Mario Cart 73 for Christmas, and I played that until I opened Zelda.

Zelda kept me so enthralled that even when I got stuck, I didn’t pop in a different game. I’ve gotten three more games since Christmas, and I didn’t even want to try any of them until I was done with Zelda.

My thoughts on this Zelda game:

  1. It was the perfect difficulty for me. I usually didn’t have to fight a boss more than twice, and the puzzles were just enough to keep me entertained but not so hard that I couldn’t figure it out.
  2. Ravio is a weird dude, and a weird part of the storyline. You find out who he is at the end of the game but it doesn't even matter, really.
  3. It’s interesting how you can essentially get all of the items at once (via renting), but there are items that you pretty much do not need (the boomerang).
  4. There are more than 3 bottles. It’s the first time there are more than 3 bottles, and I didn’t realize there were more until I looked something up in a walk-through.
  5. I was so close to having all hearts when I defeated the game. The closest I’ve ever been. Less than eight heart pieces to get, and at least 4 of them are from mini games.
  6. I still hate mini games.

There was really only two things I needed to look up in a walk-through. One: I did not realize that I could pick up and throw bombs after putting one out. Since in past games, you threw OR set down, and all I could do was set down, I thought that was it. Two: I was at a loss of how to get baby maimais off of the top of things. I literally looked up how to do it moments after I, seemingly unrelated, got the speed boots4.

I will probably go back and finish getting my last two hearts, because I like a completely completed game, and I'm looking forward to fighting other people with spotpass.

I’ve heard that I should head to McDonalds more often for lunch as they are “Nintendo Hotspots” and will actually get you the last 6 people who were there, not just who is actively there. Of course, then I have to hope they have Zelda too. But Zelda is so good on the 3ds, why wouldn’t you want to play it?

Also, I am now playing Paper Mario Sticker Star and I’m loving it already.

  1. My 4th Game Boy overall: previous versions include Color, Advanced, and a DS. (My sister had the original Game Boy; I was lucky that she shared it with me when she grew bored of it. I’m the only one of my siblings that was/is into handhelds.)  

  2. Pretty good, will probably finish it soonish. Lots of collecting. 

  3. Great for sharing; hoping I can play with some friends, but I actually don’t have friends with 3ds’s, they’re all on previous versions still. 

  4. Which also took me too long to figure out, since the wall-walking thing didn’t occur to me until way later. 

lady of his own

A Lady of His Own

A Lady of His Own (Bastion Club, #3)One of my favorite romance tropes is “young love.” Where either the heroine has loved the hero since she was just old enough to understand what love is, or both hero and heroine experience puppy love, put it aside to grow up, and then come back to it when they are mature and ready for it.

A Lady of His Own, book 3 in the Bastion Club series by Stephanie Laurens, showcases Charles St. Austell and his wayward childhood love Penelope. I adored this book. The premise is that Charles is back from being a wartime spy (a very very common vocation for Laurens’ heroes) and finds Penelope walking the corridors of his house late at night; she, however, doesn’t know he’s back and has run to his house because hers is being inhabited by the cousin who inherited her brother’s title.

The actual plot doesn’t particularly matter to me, though it is interesting and involves spying and treason and that sort of juicy side story. No, for me, this whole book is about the misunderstandings of two people who were very young and very much in love but had a terrible time of being psychic and knowing what the other was thinking and wanting.

Penelope has been in love with Charles for as long as she can remember. At 16, she convinces him to have her way with her, mere days before he leaves for the service. The basic crux of their problem is that Charles thinks that the sex was so bad and hurt Penelope so much that she obviously hated him afterwards. From Penelope’s point of view, the sex wasn’t mindblowing, but was compleatly worthwhile, but she has no chance alone with Charles after the sex but before he leaves.

Cut to 10 years later where they are both still harboring feelings for the other but are positive that the other hates them. To me, this is brilliant. I love watching two people who love each other figure out that the other loves them. It is my absolute favorite part of romance novels. This book does it in spades, and I adored both the characters. They were believable, and I never once wanted to throw the book across the room1 because of character stupidity2.

This book has a permanent spot on my keeper shelf, if only for the following lines:

He held her gaze, thinking for a moment longer, then replied, his voice so low she wasn’t sure she heard so much as felt his words.
“Whatever you wish, however you wish. I’m yours. Take me.”
Love me. Charles bit back the words––not yet, not now. He might be caught, but he wasn’t sure she was.

That moment––when Charles releases his silent plea––that’s the reason I read romance. I have found the love of my life. I’ve had that moment. Before I found Erik, I was searching for that moment, and reading romance gave it to me in all it’s infinite glory. The moment you realize that it really is love and not lust, not friendship, not every other relationship you’ve ever had. I love that feeling, and I get it from living vicariously through fictional people.

  1. Which is becoming harder and harder to do these days with ebooks instead of paperback. 

  2. Another favorite pastime; berating fictional characters for their obvious stupidity when regarding communication. 

A Rake’s Vow

A Rake's VowI really wish Stephanie Laurens hadn’t started with the ridiculous nicknames for the Cynster men. At least there’s only six who get called by something other than their name or title, but sometimes I feel like it is six men too many.

A Rake’s Vow is book two in the Cynster series.

There is a lot of thoughts that you just have to avoid. Like, how completely possible is it that Vane Cynster is totally at ease with the land and house of his Godmother1, that Patience Debbington has spent massive amounts of time with her aunt (the same woman), and the two have never actually met before that fateful evening in the garden at Lady –’s house.

This book has quite more plot and suspense than the one that follows it in the series (Scandal’s Bride), and is much more a who-done-it for the majority of if.

Of course, Patience Debington is cut from the same cloth as the rest of the Cynster brides. She is fiercely loyal to her younger brother, and wants him to make the best connections. She helps her aunt manage a menagerie of guests, and is seen as the superior in the circles she runs in.

One thing that sets her apart from other Cynster brides is that she actually listens to Vane when he asks her to do (or to not do) something. When she runs out at night early on to try to catch the “ghost,” she recognizes that she let her emotions get ahead of her sensibilities in her need to clear her brother’s name.

The one thing that is pretty trite, though, is how Vane comes by his name. He’s not vane; he is like a weather vane, always able to see which way “the wind is blowing.” I think they mean for this to be a compliment, that he’s able to see to the heart of things. But of course, it allows Laurens to have Patience think that Vane is a vane man, a elegant gentleman who must be guarded against as she refuses to lose her heart to a man who doesn’t love her back, the way her mother did.

Of course, in the course of solving the ‘whodunit,” Patience realizes that giving her heart to Vane is putting it into safe keeping, not putting it into danger.

I very much enjoyed this book. I thought this one was much better done than Scandal’s Bride.

  1. My thoughts on romance novel godmothers are enough for an entirely different post. 

There was a complete lack of suspense.

Scandal's Bride (Cynster #3)I’m pretty positive I’ve read this book before. I would say somewhere around mid 2000s. I’m a huge Laurens fan, and once upon a time I was working my way through all of her Cynster novels. And then I decided I needed shelf space and tossed most of my romance section because there are always more romance novels to read. Silly me.


I bought this one (again?) at the end of the year for my nook. I love a good book sale, and honestly I’m not going to pass up a Laurens book sale at 99 cents a pop. I read book 1 (Devil’s Bride) in December, and I thought a fluffy historical romance would do quite nicely for sick me. I honestly had no idea where this book fell in time-line when I started reading it again, because for the most part it doesn’t matter. As long as you read Devil’s book first (and even then it’s only needed to introduce you to the family), you can really read the books in any order. It’s not like you’re going to ruin a romance novel by knowing that Vane marries Patience before you read their story, or who the twins marry when in the beginning they’re only 16 and not even had a season yet.

So, I’m not reading in any particular order. And I would like to say, I enjoy the fluff. I will read all of Laurens’ work as it comes out. One day I will have to examine why even if a story didn’t work, I would read it over and over again.

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You know you’re a dork when you’ll read books based on MtG.

I don’t really think it needs to be said, but I’ll state the obvious: I’m a huge dork. My brother’s only been telling me that for the last 20 years, and I know he’s not wrong. But my dorkiness comes and goes—sometimes I feel downright hip—but today, today I am going to bask in the completeness of my inner dork, nerd, and geek, rolled into one.

Gather around, and let me tell you a story.

Once upon a time, I was a dorky seventeen, working at the local Taco Bell. I would work late nights, mostly because, well, my friends did. And these friends, they liked to play Magic the Gathering (MtG) late into the night. And as a girl playing, I was a huge novelty. My friends gave me cards, made my decks, forgot about me when we played in massive group games to the point where I might, and did, win.

Magic the Gathering: Arena

MtG: Arena

I enjoyed playing, and there was a book that was passed around, called Arena, that was pretty much the most awesomest book ever. Well, by ever, I mean in the history of MtG. Which at that time, wasn’t a terribly long list; from what I gather, Arena was possibly the first.1 But what I liked about the book, and probably what other people liked about it too, was that the main character was someone like us—someone who controlled mana and cast spells, as you do in the game. It was unique in that for a fantasy, it was a different look at the world. It was the introduction of “the plainswalker.”2 The plainswalker in the book was the position the player had while playing the game. Instead of a lightning bolt being an actual, natural lightning bolt, it was a spell pulled from a pouch and called into being, much as you would play a card from your hand.

Now, fast forward, oh, nearly ten years or so. I’m done playing MtG. I sold all my cards off or gave them away. I only desperately want a copy of Arena because I remember how awesome it was, and I’m on a terrible nostalgia trip about the books I’ve loved. And then E comes back from summer vacation, hooked on MtG bad. I mentioned that I used to play, if he ever wanted someone to play with. And so we did. Even before we were “official” with our dating, he had already amassed a large card collection that we “shared,” meaning he bought it, and it stayed at my place.

This pretty much meant I didn’t have to worry about amassing cards myself, because I nearly never use them. They just look pretty, as there are always more cards than can go into a deck. But, as we get back into it, I think more and more about Arena, and how much I liked it. And wonder in passing if there are still MtG books. And of course there are. But now, these books are based on the sets; a new book is released to go along with each card set.

Magic the Gathering: Morningtide

MtG: Morningtide

Magic the Gathering: Lorwyn

MtG: Lorwyn

And being hooked on MtG again, I get a hankering to read these books, especially the book to go with the card set that I had become enamored with, Morningtide3. Every time I went to Barnes and Nobel, I checked the shelves but it was never there. For Christmas, I ended up getting E a Fat Pack, which has some cards, dividers, boxes to match the set, and yay! for me, the Morningtide book. But It was still awhile until I read the book. Morningtide was a secondary set release, and it’s book, much like it’s cards, required Lorwyn to make full use of it. I didn’t really even think about reading the book until E bought a Lorwyn Fat Pack4. And then, of course I had to. So over a rather long period of time, I read them both. And thought they were rather good, actually. I could recognize some characters as related to specific cards in the deck, but I was really brought into the world that MtG has created.

I am not sure how this book world relates to the other sets of cards other than the Lorwyn/Morningtide/Shadowmoor/Eventide block, as I don’t really play past sets (though I still am fond for the Urza’s block), and haven’t read any other than the three books. The only part that really bothered me was the untied plotstrings at the end of the second book. The first makes you read the second (and the second really needs the first to make sense), but the end of the second doesn’t really end things. The world has changed, and the book ends right on the cusp of that change. And I’m nuts over the unresolved plot involving the Morningstar elf, who isn’t a card in her own right and seems to play a major if not understood or explained roll in the second book.

I could hope that the Shadowmoor book would pick up the plot, since that card set is  “after” of the events that occur in the book, but just reading descriptions online doesn’t really make it clear. Morningtide is obviously a book two (it even says it on Amazon), but Shadowmoor is listed as it’s own series, making it unclear if it goes with the previous two books. Being the huge dork that I am, I will probably pick up Shadowmoor just to figure out what’s going on.

  1. It’s hard to tell, details are very sketchy on the MtG site. In fact, had I not ever read it and distinctly remembered it’s name, I probably never would have ever found a copy at The Used Bookstore in Chico. 

  2. Which, oddly, becomes a card type in the Lorwyn block of MtG. Because of this book, I feel very meta playing a plainswalker in my deck, when I used to be the role of a plainswalker. 

  3. I fell in love with the artwork, and then the way the set was played. What can I say. Distracted by shiny pretty things. 

  4. I won’t lie, it was mostly for the book and the “life counter.” But all E’s purchase. 

Book Review: Soul Song

Awhile ago, Dorchester Publishing ran a small “contest”—fill out a survey, provide some info, and if picked, they’d send you an ARC1 of a soon-to-be published novel. The only stipulation was that if you liked it, you would talk about it. Post reviews to forums, to Amazon, to blogs. Well, I got picked, I read the book, and whether or not I liked it, I knew I would blog about it. It was the least I could do for a free book, I figured.

The promotion was for a Marjorie M. Liu novel, Soul Song. It’s the sixth book in the Dirk & Steele series. I came into this book having never read a previous book in this series, nor any of Liu’s previous novels. It is a paranormal romance, and not one I would have picked up in the bookstore, had I seen it on the shelf. Getting an ARC was a great way to try out a book I normally wouldn’t want to spend my money on. I now have an urge to look up Liu’s backlist, and gorge myself on her paranormal.
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  1. Advanced Reading Copy 

Book Review: Northanger Abbey

I suppose people have guessed by now that maybe I don’t read the most recent of novels. So far this summer I have tackled Metamorphoses, Frankenstein, and a fair few trashy romance novels. But, I haven’t tackled anything that’s been on a best sellers list at any time in the last year.

It should be no surprise then, that my most recently read book was written in 1803, and published in 1818. Jane Austen has to be my favorite English author of all time. Seriously. The dry wit, and the acute observation of human nature makes Austen one of the few authors where I have to read the books multiple times to get the full depth of what she’s writing. Continue reading

The juice that’s spent every time you work it.

There seriously has been nothing going on.

It’s so boring around here that I didn’t have the heart to blog about nothing yesterday. Or, it could be that I just couldn’t think of anything good. Whichever you prefer.

I have been doing geeky things, but nothing anyone would really be interested it. But I’m going to tell you about it anyway.

I downloaded the Microsoft Office Beta a bit ago, and damn, it’s confusing. Kinda. Since I mostly use Word out of the bunch, that’s what I’m going to focus on.

Word screenshot

The new Word 2007 menu bar.

The navigation bar for the new office programs is slick, but hard to understand. Even though I’ve been using Office since the dark ages, this new nav bar is messing up my mind. Things aren’t where they used to be, and it takes a little thinking to find them again. It doesn’t help that I haven’t really had a reason to create a document since the semester ended, and I downloaded the beta after that.

Word screenshot

Options for where to send the file to. Including blogs.

Not that Microsoft made it obvious, but you can actually blog from the new Word, and my last few posts have been published that way. However, I really am not a big fan of how everything is set up. To start with, there is no way to create a blog post without opening up a regular document first. I suppose Microsoft is assuming that people will create a document, and then decide “hey, I think I’m gonna blog that.” Then, when you do choose to blog, it creates a completely new document with the same exact text. Pointless, I tell you. It should be seamless.

I think that if you open a blank document, one of those lovely little tabs should say “blog post,” and when you click on it, it should give you the options you need: publish, publish as draft, remove formatting, etc., etc. When you decide to blog, it shouldn’t make an entirely new document out of it.

Also, I’m a bit afraid to start in with the formatting on the posts. If I bold something, I have no guarantee that it’s going to convert to <strong> over something else. It would be nice if the writer was offered some way to see the HTML before the post, and insert some of your own. I’m unsure how to do lesser headings since any code you type out in the document doesn’t get converted when it’s uploaded . Also, I wish that formatting would be stripped from the <p> tags that Word sends from a regular document to a blog document.

On the publishing side of things, Word doesn’t have a problem connecting to WordPress at all. However, it doesn’t respond as one would hope. When publishing, it sets the timestamp to WordPress’s default, December 31, 1969. It’s rather annoying, because once you post you have to go and edit the timestamp. Also, categories are not supported, so if you’re using them, again, editing in the admin panel has to happen.

I think that if Microsoft wants to make Word a viable option in blogging, these changes need to happen. I really hate posting, and then going in and editing my post, and I don’t want Word throwing bad code after good. If you like what you’re using now to post, don’t even bother with Word’s beta.

I’d go back to Ecto if I wasn’t so frustrated with it too, at the moment.

—”Electricity,” 311: 311

Mason-Dixon Knitting, by Gardiner and Shane.

Book Review: Mason Dixon Knitting

As a end-of-semester present to myself for doing so well and not stressing out, I bought myself a knitting book. Not just any book though, but one written by those blog goddesses Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne from masondixonknitting.com.

I have wanted this book ever since Ann and Kay announced that they had signed a book deal. Released last March, this book has managed to make it to the top of the “must have knit book,” alongside other bloggers like Stephanie Perl-McPhee, and Wendy Johnson. And, oddly enough, there are actually patterns that I want to make1 so badly that I’ve been eying my stash to see what kind of cotton I’ve got hiding in there.

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  1. K thinks it’s funny that I own over 25 knitting books, and have only made patterns out of maybe five of them.  

Blood Canticle by Anne Rice.

Book Review: Blood Canticle

I want to start a new feature around here, but I don’t know how well it’ll be received. I read books. A lot of them. This week alone, I’m on my fourth book, and I still have two days to go.

So, what I’d like to do is review books. Not to the extent of a book report, but something similar just the same. I’d love to review ARC’s but seriously, where am I going to get those? (so, if you’re an author, send me an ARC, and I’ll totally review for you).

The book for todays review was published awhile ago, and is a really well known author. I mean, who hasn’t heard of Anne Rice?

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