Friday, December 11, 2015

Audiobook Review: The Thousand Dollar Tan Line

The Thousand Dollar Tan Line (Veronica Mars #1) By Rob Thomas & Jennifer Graham
Publisher: Random House Audio
Release Date: March 25th, 2015
Format: Audiobook narrated by Kristen Bell
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads  Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD
Ten years after graduating from high school in Neptune, California, Veronica Mars is back in the land of sun, sand, crime, and corruption. She's traded in her law degree for her old private investigating license, struggling to keep Mars Investigations afloat on the scant cash earned by catching cheating spouses until she can score her first big case.

Now it's spring break, and college students descend on Neptune, transforming the beaches and boardwalks into a frenzied, week-long rave. When a girl disappears from a party, Veronica is called in to investigate. But this is not a simple missing person's case. The house the girl vanished from belongs to a man with serious criminal ties, and soon Veronica is plunged into a dangerous underworld of drugs and organized crime. And when a major break in the investigation has a shocking connection to Veronica's past, the case hits closer to home than she ever imagined.
OMG! I did not know that this book existed until the overdrive app suggested it to me. I was so excited to find out that there were Veronica Mars novels. I decided to listen to the first one, and I was a little nervous about who would do that narration, but they got Veronica herself Kristen Bell to read it and it made the audiobook so awesome! I loved this series when I was a kid, so my review might be a tiny bit bias.

This book had everything that I loved about the show: mystery, intrigue and Veronica's sarcasm. I missed that girl so much. Veronica is a baller that always get the job done, which is what I always liked about her. She also has a lot of help, and sometimes she forgets that she can't do everything by herself, which I think we see a lot of that in this novel. She definitely has a knack for getting herself into dangerous situations. 

I felt like I could really relate to this novel more than the YA novels I've been reading because Veronica is way closer to my age. So I kind felt like I was in the same position career wise. Although she seems to have her life figured out way more than I do. It was definitely a nice change of pace from what I've been reading lately. 

This book just had everything I wanted out of it, and because Kristen Bell was doing the narration, it was almost like I could picture this episode in my head. I'm really excited for the second book to come out, because I'm definitely going to read more if they make this a full book series. 

If you're not familiar with the tv series, or you didn't see the movie, this book might be hard to follow. I think you would still get what is going on but a lot of the references might not make sense to you. The book follows a few months away the events of the movie, so if you do plan the watch that I would recommend doing that before reading this.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Review: Me Being Me Is Exactly as Insane as You Being You

Me Being Me is Exactly As Insane as You Being You By Todd Hasak-Lowy
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: March 24th, 2015
Format: Hardback, 656 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

A heartfelt, humorous story of a teen boy’s impulsive road trip after the shock of his lifetime—told entirely in lists!

Darren hasn't had an easy year.

There was his parents’ divorce, which just so happened to come at the same time his older brother Nate left for college and his longtime best friend moved away. And of course there’s the whole not having a girlfriend thing.

Then one Thursday morning Darren's dad shows up at his house at 6 a.m. with a glazed chocolate doughnut and a revelation that turns Darren’s world inside out. In full freakout mode, Darren, in a totally un-Darren move, ditches school to go visit Nate. Barely twenty-four hours at Nate’s school makes everything much better or much worse—Darren has no idea. It might somehow be both. All he knows for sure is that in addition to trying to figure out why none of his family members are who they used to be, he’s now obsessed with a strangely amazing girl who showed up out of nowhere but then totally disappeared.

Told entirely in lists, Todd Hasak-Lowy's debut YA novel perfectly captures why having anything to do with anyone, including yourself, is:

1. painful
2. unavoidable
3. ridiculously complicated
4. possibly, hopefully the right thing after all.

This was a book club read, and I think the only reason that this was picked was because of the interesting way it was written. I will give it credit for finding a way to write a book in a series of lists, but this one just wasn't for me. I actually think if I could be a person that doesn't force themselves to finish things, I would have DNF this one, but I didn't because it was for book club. I am glad the rest of the group also didn't like this book either, so at least I was not alone in my thoughts. 

One of my issues with this novel was that some of the lists were just so boring. I did not give a F-- about who sat in Jazz band, or the four streets he saw on his way someplace, etc. I thought this was useless information that did nothing to move the plot along. Honestly, was there a plot? Because it didn't seem like there was much of resolution at the end of this book. I honestly think that this book could have been cut in half. Although, some of the lists were only half a page, I still think this book was way too long and had too much filler.

I think my biggest issue with this novel was that I felt like Darren wasn't true to how teenagers act and think. I had a hard time relating to him, and I initially thought it was because my parents aren't divorced and because I might be too old for YA. The girls in my book club (who are still teenagers) told me they couldn't relate to him either, because he didn't feel like a teenage from the current era. I felt like Darren was really homophobic and I think it was the biggest issue I had with this book. It just didn't fit with the time period of this novel. If this was set in the '80s or '90s, maybe I could have been more behind it, but I feel like the current generation is really tolerant that his viewpoint didn't fit with the modern setting. 

For the most part while reading this novel I just wanted Darren to get over things. Get over his issues with his parents' divorce, over his dad's revelation, and over this mysterious girl Zooey. I felt like Zooey was just throw in there as another "manic pixie dream girl" and I've read that story so many times that I just didn't care. Darren was actually kind of a jerk to everyone that I didn't really care at the end of story, but I did want some sort of resolution, but I feel like nothing happened! It made me so mad! 

This is one of those rare books I would strongly NOT recommend to my readers. For me the only thing that it had going for it was the different format, and I don't think that's a compelling reason itself to read this one. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Deanna Listens: The Indoor Kids

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. This month I am talking about The Indoor Kids.

The Indoor Kids is a video game podcast that is run by comedian Kumail Nanjiani and his equally talented wife Emily V Gordon. I really like Kumail's comedy so it was the first reason why I was interested in listening to this podcast. Since I started getting more into gaming, it's also been a good reference for me and has helped me discover new games that I might be interested in.

Unfortunately they are on hiatus right now, but I have a ton of old episodes backed logged on my stitcher app, and I have been listening to these two non-stop. I find Emily's career path so interesting, and had I not listened to this podcast I probably wouldn't have know about her past career as a therapist or that she has a book out now. I'm actually really interested in reading that, and getting her outlook on life.

I don't think this podcast is for you if you don't game, but I really recommend it if you are a new gamer and don't really know what games you are interested in. They don't just talk about gaming, but the bulk of their episodes do hinge upon it. 

Here are a few of my favorite episodes that I have listened to so far:
I'm sure there are way more old ones that I couldn't find to link to, but these are a few episodes that I absolutely adored. I actually think this is one of my favorite podcasts right now.

Got a podcast you think I would enjoy? Let me know and maybe it will be featured next month.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, December 4, 2015

November Wrap-Up!

November was a pretty good month for me on the blog. I think it was actually the most posts I have written on here since August! And now I'm really behind on everything again. Gah! I have a few reviews that I need to get out of the way, but all in all I am really happy with my blogging this month. Not so much with my reading, so I really need to get caught up!

November was Sci-Fi month so I spent most of the month posting reviews and reading Sci-Fi books. I also hosted a giveaway. A winner has been chosen and emailed already, but since this was a quiz, I wanted to announce the answers to the questions here.

  1. Boy plays easter egg hunt in virtual reality to win power and fortune left in the game by its creator. READY PLAYER ONE
  2. Man finds out Earth is going to be destroyed to make way for a galactic freeway and is whisked away off the planet by his friend who is not who he says he is. High jinks ensue. HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
  3. Hyper intelligent man is sent to investigate highly top-secret scientific "Door " project only to find out that things and the scientists behind the door are are not exactly what they seem. THE FOLD
  4. Royal houses of large empire fight for ultimate power on desert planet. Young heir survives and becomes all knowing messiah to native people. DUNE
  5. Astronaut gets mistaken for dead and gets stranded on Mars. He uses intelligence and his dark humor to survive life on planet while hoping NASA figures out how to save him. THE MARTIAN
  6. Cyborg mechanic is mistreated by stepmother and treated as a slave, until she figures out that her story is more complex than she ever could imagine. CINDER 
  7. Girl and robot in disguise play music in orchestra together and fall in love during a bitter war between human and artificial life. Discovery of a virus created to destroy robots ends in a huge plot twist. I HEART ROBOT
  8. Hyper intelligent young boy is sent to school to train kids to play a "game" against invading "bugs". But is it really just a game? ENDER'S GAME
  9. Multiple perspective book about alien invasion and how the different waves take down the humans in a very perverse but evil genius way. Not everyone is who they say they are. THE 5TH WAVE
  10. Futuristic society is which everyone is deemed "ugly" until they are 16 when they get the operation to turn them "pretty". Uglies
Everyone did pretty well, but only one person got the question to #7. This was a little book from Month9 books, so it may have missed you guys. Although, I did review it on my blog last year, so that would have been a huge hint.



What books did you read this month?

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Video Game Review: Mass Effect 3

This is likely to be my last review for Sci-Fi month! I had a really fun time this month, and hopefully I will get to everyone's comments soon! You do have a few more days left to enter my giveaway

So here is my review of the final game in the Mass Effect Trilogy.

So ME3, in short what I have to say about this game is: great game, terrible ending. By the time I played the game I had the epilogue that showed you how the universe is affected by whichever choice you make at the end. So I thought that was pretty cool, but I also was annoyed with what happens at the end. If you haven't finished the game or played it, you probably won't be happy with any of the choices you are given. So be prepared.

So I really didn't like the ending, but I also didn't like the Galaxy at War percentage thing they introduced. You start out with 50% and you can only increase that number if you play the multiplayer online part of the game they introduced in this one. As a relatively new gamer I had no desire to do this, and my boyfriend said he never really had luck in trying to get this to work because not a lot of people played the online part. The problem is the only way you get the best possible outcome of the game is to do this, so that really annoyed me because I had the Citadel DLC and I did literally every mission I could! 

So other than these things, I generally enjoyed my time playing this game. I had such a fun time completing all the missions to build up my army to try to take down the reapers. Only I did miss a lot of citadel missions because I didn't realize you have to go back there before doing other missions, because a bunch of crazy things happen. I feel like I'm not explaining this game well, but I'm trying really hard not to spoil anything for anyone who may not have played the game.

In this game they introduced a weapon weight and power recharge thing which I thought was pretty cool. I played as a vanguard so I mostly just used a few small weapons, and blasted enemies with shockwave, and carnage. I really enjoyed that part of the game. You can basically set it up so you have one small pistol and your power recharge is pretty quick. I usually had my squad mates carry the heavy stuff in order to be effective here. 

I thought that they really perfected the combat in this game too. I found it hard to get used to the roll from cover to cover thing at first, but in the end I ended up really liking it. So much that when I started my replay of the first game I kept trying to roll and realized I couldn't do that yet. 

For the most part, the differences between the second and third game are pretty subtle so it was easier for me to get used to the third game. I think for the most part they perfected a lot of things that may have missed the mark in the second one. So yes, I did really enjoy this game as I was playing it, but I was just not that happy with the ending. 

My Rating: ★ 1/2

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Reread Review: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
Publisher: Del Ray Books
Release Date: September, 27th 1995
Format: Mass market paperback, 216 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor.

Together this dynamic pair begin a journey through space aided by quotes from The Hitchhiker's Guide ("A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have") and a galaxy-full of fellow travelers: Zaphod Beeblebrox--the two-headed, three-armed ex-hippie and totally out-to-lunch president of the galaxy; Trillian, Zaphod's girlfriend (formally Tricia McMillan), whom Arthur tried to pick up at a cocktail party once upon a time zone; Marvin, a paranoid, brilliant, and chronically depressed robot; Veet Voojagig, a former graduate student who is obsessed with the disappearance of all the ballpoint pens he bought over the years.

I first read the first installment of Hitchhiker's Guide a long time ago, but I recently purchased the Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide version so I could have the whole collection, and decided to take it with me on vacation. I only got through the first book, so I wanted to write my first ever reread review on this blog for Sci-Fi Month.

I think when I was a kid I missed a lot of the jokes in this book, because reading this again as a adult I was laughing at a lot of things I didn't before. The whole concept of the earth being demolished for room for a Galactic Freeway is just so funny to me. I have a lot of friends that don't care for this book because of its overt "Britishness" but I've never really had a problem with that, and I didn't find that an issue in my second read through either.

One thing I guess I forgot about was just how short this novel is. I was expecting more from it, and I kind of forgot how it just ends. The ending leaves a lot hanging in the air. I do remember reading the second installment immediately after the first, so I kind of understand why I did so. You just have to find out what is going to happen!

All in all, upon a second review I found that I still really enjoyed this book. It's a short read, but a lot happens in it. I'm glad that I have the rest of the series so that I can eventually finish the whole thing. I'm pretty certain that I've only read the first three novels in the series, so I'm excited to continue on with the series again.

I think if you missed this book in the past, that you should definitely give it a try. I feel like this series has started to enter the classic genre, and I definitely think that everyone should read at least the first one.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Review: Armada

Armada by Ernest Cline
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Release Date: July 14th, 2015
Format: Hardback, 349 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Zack Lightman has spent his life dreaming. Dreaming that the real world could be a little more like the countless science-fiction books, movies, and videogames he’s spent his life consuming. Dreaming that one day, some fantastic, world-altering event will shatter the monotony of his humdrum existence and whisk him off on some grand space-faring adventure.

But hey, there’s nothing wrong with a little escapism, right? After all, Zack tells himself, he knows the difference between fantasy and reality. He knows that here in the real world, aimless teenage gamers with anger issues don’t get chosen to save the universe.

And then he sees the flying saucer.

Even stranger, the alien ship he’s staring at is straight out of the videogame he plays every night, a hugely popular online flight simulator called Armada—in which gamers just happen to be protecting the earth from alien invaders. 

No, Zack hasn’t lost his mind. As impossible as it seems, what he’s seeing is all too real. And his skills—as well as those of millions of gamers across the world—are going to be needed to save the earth from what’s about to befall it.

It’s Zack’s chance, at last, to play the hero. But even through the terror and exhilaration, he can’t help thinking back to all those science-fiction stories he grew up with, and wondering: Doesn’t something about this scenario seem a little…familiar?

At once gleefully embracing and brilliantly subverting science-fiction conventions as only Ernest Cline could, Armada is a rollicking, surprising thriller, a classic coming of age adventure, and an alien invasion tale like nothing you’ve ever read before—one whose every page is infused with the pop-culture savvy that has helped make Ready Player One a phenomenon.
 So I've got another review to add to my Sci-Fi Month Schedule. I didn't think I would finish Armada before the month was up, but I surprised myself by actually spending more of my free time reading again. Yay! So before I get into my review of this book, I want to make something clear about this book: THIS IS NOT READY PLAYER ONE PART 2.  I will admit that this book doesn't live up to Cline's first book, but I tried to take the book at face value for what is was. It was a fun book, aimed at gamers' and sci-fi lovers. And that is perfectly okay.

I liked this book enough, and I tried to put myself in Zack's shoes a lot. So if one day someone from the Alliance Navy took me away from work and said to me, "Okay, you're ready to fight the Reapers with Commander Shepard now!" I wouldn't know what the hell I was doing either. Zack makes a huge mistake his very first day with the Earth Defense Alliance, and I was glad that happens because it showed that he wasn't the hero with all the answers. He messed up right away. but he learns from it, and I really appreciated it.

I think one of the reasons that I didn't find this book amazing was because I felt like all the twists and turns in the plot were way to obvious for me. I kinda of predicted a major plot twist that gets explained halfway into the book. I also couldn't help but feel like what was going on happened in a South Park episode. I'm not telling which one, but I think you'll get what I mean when you read this book. So for me, parts of it weren't that exciting because I knew what was going to happen. I almost feel like this book would have worked better on film. If the RPO film does well, I have no doubt that someone will try to make an adaptation of this one, and I would be excited to see that.

So, this book wasn't terrible, I just didn't find it as amazing as RPO. It was a fun book, and I would recommend it, but I just would stress not to compare it to Cline's first book too much. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Video Game Review: Mass Effect 2

So I fell a little behind on my Sci-Fi Month posts, but I'm finally back with another video game review. This time with Mass Effect 2! If you haven't read my review for the first game you can read it here.

Dude, why isn't femshep the cover?
So I've been doing a renegade play though of the ME games, because I love this series so freaking much. The first run through I mostly played as a paragon, just because I always feel like I have to save everyone, so now I'm just running around being a dick and generally just trying to have a different experience with this game. And you totally can achieve this, especially if you purposely chose different choices. I think it's one of things that really makes me love this game trilogy. Choices matter.

So let's talk about how I initially felt about Mass Effect 2 when I first started it. I actually hated it at first. The reason is because the controls on the first game and the mechanics of your weapons were so freaking wack. So I got really use to my guns overheating all the time, that when they introduced the thermal clips in the second game I freaking hated it. I got so mad, but as I got more used to it I realized how they totally revamped the game for the better in the sequel. I just started my replay of this and after having played the first game again and gotten more of an experience with other games, I've realized that it's such a better game. I think maybe the best thing about this sequel is that they scrapped the Mako. Yay! Driving the messed up controls of that thing was the absolute worse thing in the either galaxy. I saw that they are bringing the Mako back for Andromeda, and I was just thinking, "oh, no, why?!?"

I think I also wasn't that into this game at first because in the plot of this game you are under Cerberus' thumb, but they are helping you prove that the reapers do exist and helping you destroy them. They also bring you back to life, so you basically have no choice. The organization are basically human terrorists, so I'm finding it easy to be an asshole to all of them in this renegade play through. I just want to punch The Illusive Man in the face at all times. 

So even though I had mixed feelings about this game when I first started it, playing it again now I realized that I think it is my favorite in the series. The way they revamped the game really made it a lot easier to play. How the weapons and combat was changed made more sense, but coming from just playing the first game for me it was really hard to get used to. Oh! But in this game you get more romance options, and you finally get to romance Garrus! So you know I did that in my first organic play through of these games. Garrus is just the best!

Honestly, I love this game so much and all I want to do when I get home from work every day is play hours of this game. Bioware has really taken over my life. I think if you had any issues with the first game that you should definitely check out this one. The game is so much better than the first, and I highly recommend it!

My Rating:

Happy Reads Everyone!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Star Wars Legends Epic Collection, The New Republic

Star Wars Epic Collection: The New Republic
Publisher: Marvel
Release Date: March, 26th 2015
Format: Softback, 488 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★
Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

When the Empire falls, a New Republic rises! After Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi, Emperor Palpatine is dead — but can his faithful Hand, Mara Jade, complete her final mission of revenge? Replica droid assassin Guri has also lost her master…but as she struggles for humanity, her android brain makes her a target! When rivals clash over Jabba the Hutt’s criminal empire, the Bloated One makes a surprising appearance! And a mysterious doppelganger is asking for trouble impersonating everyone’s favorite bounty hunter — it’s Boba Fett vs. Boba Fett!

So...I really love the Star Wars Expanded Universe (now the not canon "legends" alternative timeline books), and I love Mara Jade, the original character that Timothy Zahn created in the Hand of Thrawn novels. So of course I always had this comic on my list to own/read. The comic starts off strong with six issues of Mara Jade comics, which I have to admit were my favorite in this one. I loved the plot line and how she just kicked ass and took names, and I was really fond of the artwork.

I ended up liking a lot of the other comics, and thought it was interesting that some of these explored stories outside of the three heroes. Like what happens to one of the guards from Jabba's palace after his demise, and what happens to some of Jabba's other smugglers.  I also loved the Shadows of the Empire comics. Like the Mara Jade comics, I loved both the artwork and the plot equally. 

Some of the stories didn't grab me, and I think it was because of the artwork. One was the Do Or Do Not comic. The art didn't really look like the characters, and it was so short that it didn't really seem like it had a point. The other one that I wasn't really fond of due to the art was Lando's Commandos On Eagles' Wings. The plot on this one was interesting but the artwork just looked like Invader Zim, which made it seem out of place. 

Besides a few nit-picky things from me, I really enjoyed this comic. It's a pretty thick book, and it was a little pricy because it is all in color, but it was totally worth it. My love of Star Wars has no chance of dying, so I might be a little biased with this review. If you're a fan of the expanded universe or good comics I recommend it.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Saga Vol.1

Saga Vol. 1 By Brian K. Vaughan
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: October, 23rd 2012
Format: Comic
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. 

From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults. 
Oh man, I had heard from so many people that I should read Saga, but I just kept putting it off. But with Sci-Fi Month starting again, I decided to finally take a crack at this comic and I am so glad I did. I freaking loved this comic, and I'm just mad that I don't have the second volume in my possession right now.

This comic book is great because the romance is of star-crossed lovers from different sides of a war, which I freaking love. It's also deals a lot with being a new parent and how you have no idea what the hell you are doing. It does take a village to raise a child, and you do need help. Only Marcus and Alana have a spirit as a babysitter. Oh right, on top of the great relationship dynamic this comic is full of weird fantasy and sci-fi elements. I think the blending of the two genres makes this story perfect.

I do feel like I have to say these though, this one is not for children or for anyone that gets uncomfortable with nudity in comics books. There is a scene in this novel where a side-character goes to a pleasure planet so those panels get pretty graphic, and pretty freaking weird. Like you have no idea, and I don't think I can even prepare you for that weird section.

I adored the story in this one, and I just wanted to keep reading on to find out if the two lovers were going to get caught, but it wasn't just plot that kept me going. I did really like the artwork. The colors were very vibrant, and it kept me interested in actually looking at the panels and not just reading the thought/speech bubbles.

If you like delightfully weird sci-fi and you have an interest in comics book, please go and buy the first issue now!

Happy Reads Everyone!

Monday, November 9, 2015

How Ready Player One Affected My Life

A while ago I listened to the audio book of Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, and I absolutely loved it. I kind of wished I had waited to write my review of it for Sci-Fi Month, but I did not think that far ahead. However, since we are talking about all things Sci-Fi this month, I wanted to talk about how this book affected me.

I've read a lot of negative reviews about how this book is what is wrong with gaming culture, and how without all the 80s references you wouldn't really have a good plot. I understand all those things, but I literally do not care because this book really spoke to me. And by spoke to me, it really made me want to get back into gaming again.

So here's the deal, back in the day of play station one I played the shit out of the Spyro the Dragon games. I loved those games. At this point in time they kept putting out new consoles almost every year and I think my parents were like, "We're not buying another console" so I guess that was the end of my gaming. I mean I still had my gameboy color so I did play Pokemon Blue A LOT, but I kind of lost touch with gaming. Until I moved in with my long-term boyfriend. He's a big gamer and in the five years that we have been together he has been trying desperately to get me into gaming, and well he succeeded, because I have finally succumbed.

Reading about Wade in the Oasis just really wanted me to experience that. The games they played sounded awesome, and I guess I always knew that had I got interested in World of Warcraft that probably would have taken over my life. So I said to my boyfriend, "Okay, I want to try playing Mass Effect again." That was back in July, and I've already finished the whole trilogy, started a renegade replay and started playing the same company's other game Dragon Age. That would probably explain why I was so absent on the blog in October. I don't know if I would have tried it again had I not read Cline's book. I just absolutely loved it and it made me realize how much I did miss gaming in my life. Now I just have to figure out the balance between reading and gaming.

I don't care what the naysayers have to say about RPO, I thought it was such a fun book to read, and it brought me back to a pass time that I can enjoy again. 

Happy Reads Everyone!

Friday, November 6, 2015

SciFi Month: Review-Dune

Dune By Frank Herbert
Publisher: Ace Books
Release Date: 1965
Format: Paperback, 883 pages
Summary Via GoodReads

My Rating: ★★
Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

This Hugo and Nebula Award winner tells the sweeping tale of a desert planet called Arrakis, the focus of an intricate power struggle in a byzantine interstellar empire. Arrakis is the sole source of Melange, the "spice of spices." Melange is necessary for interstellar travel and grants psychic powers and longevity 
so whoever controls it wields great influence. The troubles begin when stewardship of Arrakis is transferred by the Emperor from the Harkonnen Noble House to House Atreides. The Harkonnens don't want to give up their privilege, though, and through sabotage and treachery they cast young Duke Paul Atreides out into the planet's harsh environment to die. There he falls in with the Fremen, a tribe of desert dwellers who become the basis of the army with which he will reclaim what's rightfully his. Paul Atreides, though, is far more than just a usurped duke. He might be the end product of a very long-term genetic experiment designed to breed a super human; he might be a messiah. His struggle is at the center of a nexus of powerful people and events, and the repercussions will be felt throughout the Imperium. Dune is one of the most famous science fiction novels ever written, and deservedly so. The setting is elaborate and ornate, the plot labyrinthine, the adventures exciting.

Not only is Dune a book I wanted to wait to review until Sci-Fi month, but it is also a part of the TBR Challenge, and is the reason I haven't read a lot of books for that challenge. I think this might be the 4th book I've completed in that challenge.

This freaking book is the reason why I didn't blog or read that many books in the month of September. And probably why my blogging was so sparse in the month of October as well. This book took so much of my time and my life, I felt like I was taking the spice too much at the end. No seriously, they do a shit ton of drugs in this book, but I digress.

So I think Dune is an essential book if you are a sci-fi fan, and I would recommend it because the world building it awesome, but there were some elements that I wish I was warned about. This book is not so much spaceships and fighting aliens, but rather a realistic future world with a political power struggle. I hate to say it but the feud between the Atreides and the Harkonnens reminded me a lot of Game of Thrones. So now I'm wondering if George R.R. Martin was not just inspired by history, but by Frank Herbert as well. I'm not really into politics and the games that people in power play, so I wasn't that into this aspect of the novel. Unfortunately it does play a huge role, so if you are expecting space battles, you won't really see it in this novel.

The world building was really cool in this novel. And I think the desert planet Arrakis was pretty vividly told. I could really see what this place looked like and what the native people looked like. I really liked that we got to see the culture of the Fremen, and instead of trying to make them like him Paul immersed himself in their culture and their ways. He even decides to change his name to Muad'Did to really become one of the Fremen and not just an outsider with power. With the Fremen culture Herbert also explores religion, which I thought was a really interesting concept in a science fiction novel.

This book really took over a lot of my reading time, but in the end I feel really accomplished after finishing it. This novel was a huge undertaking and a challenge that I needed in my life. I would highly recommend it for any Sci-Fi fan that really wants to challenge their reading or just really wants to experience an early science fiction novel.

Happy Reads Everyone!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Video Game Review: Mass Effect

I think you guys might me sick of hearing me talk about Mass Effect, but suck it up because now I'm finally going to write a review about it. But let me just put a disclaimer on this review first, I don't consider myself a gamer. At least not yet. The last time I played a console game was Spyro: Year of The Dragon, so for me to go from that to Mass Effect it was a huge jump. There was a lot to get used to, so I don't have much to compare this game to any other game I've played before. That being said...

DUDE! I freaking love Mass Effect!!!

So much that I dressed up as Commander Shepard (Femshep obviously) for Halloween.

I'm Commander Shepard and this is my favorite halloween party on the Citadel

I love this game so freaking much. So, okay why did I love this game?'s basically Star Trek the game. The Alliance Navy is pretty much the Federation, and you see a lot of sci-fi tropes within the game itself that made me love it. I didn't find it trite, I found it pretty meta and awesome. Also, the voice actor for Femshep is amazing so I loved playing as her. (I tried to do a play through as the male Shepard, but I was never satisfied with his looks.)

The game is awesome because you get to run around on different planets with a crew of aliens that you gather along the way to take down a ton of robots and the big bad Saren. Dude, Saren is straight up crazy town. There is also a lot of crazy things that happen in the game, and I won't get into because I don't want to give away any spoilers. I love the different aliens on my crew, and I actually found them all to be way more interesting than the human characters. Especially since Ashley, the human you find early on in the game, is kind of racist against the aliens. Like, hey bitch is your name Commander Shepard? Nope? Then shut up and work with the aliens.

I also loved that you can choose different powers or talents depending on the class you chose in the beginning of the game. I'm actually doing a renegade play through right now and I purposely chose a different origin and class so that I could experience a different game. I think you could actually have a different experience each time you play this game if you change up the origins, class and oh yeah make a lot of different choices. Choices matter in this game. I like that you have the option to settle things peacefully or just can just kill everyone and be a dick. Sometimes I find it hard, but other times it's actually a lot of fun. In this game some of the choices will affect the later games, and it made me really invested in the game and trying to do the right thing at all costs. I also like that there is a romance option in this game, because not everything is about saving the galaxy. Sometimes you also have to sleep with the alien, or the boring human. But dude, choose the alien.

My favorite things about this game are Joker and Garrus Vakarian. Joker is awesome and he's voiced by Seth Green which just made me love him more. He's the much needed comic relief, and he basically says what I am always thinking. Garrus is just my favorite companion, but unfortunately he's not a romance option in the first game. Boo! Garrus is Shep's buddy and always has his/her back no matter which gender Shep you play as. That dinosaur bird is just great.

Before I played Mass Effect 2, I would have given this a 5-star review, but there is a small problem with this game...okay a big problem... the controls are so wack. I got really used to them so it wasn't an issue for me in the first game, but if you're a regular gamer it will definitely frustrate you. The other issue is the Mako. Seriously, can anyone drive that thing properly? That thing sucks. I'm so glad after the first game I never had to get in that thing ever again! I would have been more pissed at the end of Mass Effect 3 if you had to get back into that stupid thing. That would have been a worse ending, but we'll get to that later.

So I love this game so much, and I'm really glad that playing this game really made me get back into gaming. Have you played the first Mass Effect game? What did you think of it?

My Rating: ★★

Happy Reads Everyone!