Category Archives: Reviews

February / March Bookshelf

Right, time for the book shelf update. Seeing that I missed the February one, this is going to be two months of reading history. There’s quite a few to get through, so let’s get on with it!

February

1. Emily The Strange : The Lost Days

A mystery is a foot, a girl with amnesia wakes up on a park bench and can’t remember anything. Part novel, part notebook / casebook on her path to remembering who she is and what she is doing. It’s very kooky, but that was to be expected. Maybe it was a bit weird in places, but the ludicrous can be good sometimes.

2. The Secret Service: Kingsmen

I read this comic after we saw the movie, and it’ll be one of the few things I can say that I preferred the movie. I liked the silly over the top spy stuff that happened. It was very easy to read, and the comic was different to the movie so it was not too much trouble to read it afterwards.

3. The Revenge of Seven

The latest installment in the Lorien Legacies. We are really hitting the action now. The gang is determined to continue on their quest to save the earth and restore their home planet. I like the turn this is taking, and I’m really hoping that we see some more action and battles in the next one. I love seeing their powers being used.

4. Justice League Vol. 1: Origin

I have to admit this one didn’t thrill me, I expected to really like reading about all of these characters together but it just didn’t work for me. It felt like there were too many people fighting to lead the team.

5. Blood Song

First note about this book – it felt so long. I loved the training element of the book where the main character guy was learning so much stuff. Can anyone say wizard school? I just found the battles so arduous and difficult to get through, not being well versed in military stuff I found all the details very challenge. Also… the blood song doesn’t really get covered enough. Even though its meant to be the thing that is leading him through life or whatever.

6. Fables Vol. 5: The Mean Seasons

Boop. More fairytale goodness, we see some new additions to Fabletown [adorable ones] and we live through the aftermath of the invasion. It’s a hard time to be a fable as everything is changing. I could just devour this series.

7. Fables Vol.6: Homelands

In this volume we uncover some truths about the homeland and the adversary. I liked exploring the new places, and really seeing what Boy Blue can do, as he has been a minor character up until this volume. Boy can really come through for the fables! [I have four more volumes on the way, so there will be more of these soon]

8. Superman Vol. 1: What Price Tomorrow

While I enjoyed seeing Superman in the Supergirl comics, I wasn’t as fond of him in his own storyline. The new direction for him is quite dark and troubled instead of his traditional golden boy saviour role. Not sure how I feel about it, it might take another volume or so to get used to his new character.

9. Hero Cats of Stellar City Vol.1

Super hero cats who want to save the world? Yes please. This book is very small and only collects 3 issues of this comic. It’s so cute. I loved the montage nature of training the new cat to be a part of the team. And also cats.

10. American Honey

I won this book last year as part of a goodreads contest, and it’s taken me quite a while to get around to reading it. I picked it for the February IGGPPC Book Challenge (a book with a heart on the cover). It’s a  very short book, and a perfect example of a self contained YA book. I’d recommend it if you enjoy music and singing, as it is a very easy read. The main character was flighty and annoying and couldn’t make up her mind about a boy. Jack didn’t come across as someone to share your dreams with – he’s too selfish.

The singing contest part of the book was excellent, it fell apart for me after that. I didn’t need anything to happen after that.

11. The Guild Vol. 1

This comic is a sort of prequel to the webshow. I think I preferred the comic to the webshow, it was a fairly entertaining read about how the guild formed.

12. Fairest Vol. 1

This is a spin off from Fables, mainly focussing on the female characters. It happens mid-way through the Fables storyline, which I haven’t gotten to yet so I was lucky that there weren’t too many spoilers. I loved this one, the artwork is so lovely. And I love seeing the different lands.

13. Trees Vol. 1

Set in a future where aliens have landed on the planet but ignored humans for the last 10 years. There were lots of different storylines happening at once, and this book is really about how people deal with the situation and adapt to life once the ‘Trees’  arrive. So much changes, governments topple, climates change. Whole new societies bloom at the base of these trees. The characters are so well written, and I really liked that at no point was it a us vs. them kind of plot.

 

March

1. Usagi Yojimbo Vol 1: The Ronin

Rabbit Bodyguard. Not my favourite book of recent history. I have no real interest in the ancient Japanese setting this book lives in, and in an odd turn of events, having animals as the characters didn’t work for me at all [it normally does]… I found myself uninterested in what was happening quite quickly, and the art style couldn’t really keep me interested.

2. Days of the Bagnold Summer

This is a slice if life comic, it’s very meloncholy and reminded me a lot of Ghost World. The book follows six weeks of time with a single mother and her son. It has it’s awkward moments but you see some development in the son and he isn’t always surly by the end of the book.

3. Days of Blood and Starlight

The second book in the trilogy really took a turn a turn for the dark, in the aftermath of the war there is so much vengeance being enacted. Karou has a new job, and she’s not enjoying it at all, it’s so hard for her to follow orders and restore the balance.

4. Alex + Ada Vol. 1

Glorious. Futuristic. Go get one now. I want a robot to be a companion, so we could go to places and do things together. And the whole AI debate touched on some issues. I’m really interested to see where this story goes.

5. Grandville Mon Amour

The artwork in this book is phenomenal – I mean absolutely stunning. I could just sit and look at the book all day.

6. Supergirl Vol 2: Girl in the World

More supergirl, this volume didn’t work as well for me, I think because it had been so long since I read the last volume. We see her tackle some bad guys solo, which was cool. And she’s trying harder to fit in on Earth until the last issue that is when plot twist.

7. Requiem

I read this book for the March IGGPPC Book Challenge. I’d been putting off finishing this trilogy –  as the second book felt like such a chore. I was disappointed with the ending, as no conclusions are drawn about anything. I’m glad she found Grace, but it feels like an afterthought as she isn’t really mentioned at all after Lena escapes into the wilds. Also the love triangle is incredibly frustrating and pointless – I didn’t care who she ended up with at all. It’s done now though, goodbye love cure land!

8. Y: The Last Man Book 1

Omigosh – this book? I loved it, once I picked it up I could not put it down. I’m really enjoying sci-fi comics at the moment. In a future when all the men and male things die off at once, and only one survives with his pet monkey? Confusion and infighting abound, it’s a very cleverly crafted setting.

9. Supergirl Vol 3. Sanctuary

This volume finished a crossover event that covered a lot of the super-titles. So, having not read the other comics, some bits confused me, but I still love this book. It was dramatic, and stuff. I loved the Super-people teaming up and the Small Justice League appearance to save Supergirl.

 

So, there are all the books. What are you reading at the moment?

– girlinthenerdshop

Reading Goal Update

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This is a goal update, a bit like a 6-monthly check in to see that I’ve been getting on ok. And as far as reading is concerned, I have been incredibly successful for the most part.

I have surpassed my Goodreads Reading Goal of 40 books. I’m currently at 50, but I am quite close to the end of the book I’m currently reading. I have an idea of how it snuck up on me, I’ve read a wide variety of materials including graphic novels, comics, and a manga [my first one ever]. I know the pictures says 51 but that includes the failed attempt at Dirk Gently that we won’t talk about again.

Look at that number!

Look at that number!

If you’re interested in a list of exactly all the things that I’ve read, with links to reviews I may have written, then that follows… if not, you’ve had a short visit today haven’t you!

  1. The Singing by Alison Croggon
  2. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul by Deborah Rodriquez
  3. Gotham City Sirens #1
  4. Gotham City Sirens #2
  5. The Little Android by Marissa Meyer
  6. World War Z by Max Brooks
  7. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  8. Redshirts by John Scalzi
  9. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  10. Ms. Marvel #1
  11. Wonder Woman Vol. 1: Blood
  12. Feed by Mira Grant
  13. Uglies by Scott Westerfield
  14. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  15. Raven’s Gate (Graphic Novel) by Anthony Horowitz
  16. The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
  17. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  18. A Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
  19. Howl’s Moving Castle
  20. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
  21. The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke
  22. Insurgent by Veronica Roth
  23. Hotel Babylon by Imogen Edwards-Jones
  24. Cress by Marissa Meyer
  25. Every Year by Cecelia Ahern
  26. Welcome to Rosie Hopkin’s Sweetshop of Dreams by Jenny Colgan
  27. The Saturday Super Club by Amy Bratley
  28. Sunshine with a Chance of Snow by Carole Matthews
  29. Leftovers by Stella Newman
  30. Adventure Time Vol. 1
  31. A Game of Thrones by GRRM
  32. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  33. Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky by Marissa Meyer
  34. Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
  35. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  36. Marvel Girl #1
  37. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
  38. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simision
  39. Allegiant by Veronica Roth
  40. The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore
  41. The Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore
  42. The Last Days of Lorien by Pittacus Lore
  43. The Forgotten Ones by Pittacus Lore
  44. The Search for Sam by Pittacus Lore
  45. Black Widow and the Marvel Girls Vol. 1
  46. Free Four: Tobias Tells the Knife Scene by Veronica Roth
  47. Domino 1-4
  48. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
  49. Pretties by Scott Westerfield
  50. Attack on Titan Vol. 1

-girlinthenerdshop

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Which is easier to find- Gold or Marvel Dice Masters?

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Hello folks,I’m briefly going to talk to you about a Wizkids game called Marvel Dice Masters. It’ll only be brief, because I haven’t managed to play this game other than a couple of quick starter games to get the feel of it.

I’ve been trying to hold off on talking about it, because it is currently really tricky to get in stock. And I don’t mean just my local store, I’m talking global short printing. It happens, and it can’t be helped. However, anything Marvel themed at the moment is super guarenteed to sell a whole truckload. It came out just under a month ago, and the first batch of restocks is due in soon. I’m really hoping its soon…

Dice Masters Starter Pack

Dice Masters Starter Pack

The first starter set is Avengers vs X-men, so if you’re a fan of those things and you like games, this is a really cool thing to keep an eye out for. The starter set comes with enough stuff for two people to play with, and there is plenty of choice, it can be a bit limiting if you want to play slightly larger games, but that is where the boosters come it. Each booster has two character cards and two character dice in [these match, so you will get a Loki card and a Loki dice in the same packet]. Collect more boosters, have more options, make your ideal team. Simple idea. Really cool game, with lots of interactions you can mix and match.

The rulebook however, is one of the worst rulebooks I’ve ever read. It takes a good long while of reading and head scratching to figure out. Head to youtube, watch someone explain it, it is simpler than the rulebook makes out.

I’m looking forward to trying to trade for some of my favourite marvel characters, I want some more Black Widow dice, but she is really easy to get into play, so I can imagine there being quite a lot of competition in the swap pool for her.

Look at the pretty dice, I wants them all!

Look at the pretty dice, I wants them all!

There’s a new starter coming out in September, which is the Uncanny X-men Starter, which I’m really excited about.

The answer to the title question is, at the moment, GOLD! Congratulations. Have 10 mars bar points.

-girlinthenerdshop

Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer

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Today I want to witter on about a deckbuilding game called Ascension: Chronicle of the Godslayer. [From now on, I’ll just use Ascension, but you know what I’m talking about right?]

Players: 2-4

Time: 30 minutes

Age: 13+

I played this game for the first time a couple of weeks ago, and I really enjoyed it. I actually played the “Apprentice Edition” Which is a 2-player starter game… with a paper playmat included so that you know where all of your cards go. This version is also a bargain at only £10. So now you have no excuse to go and try it out.

I found it incredibly easy to learn as a game, having limited experience with CCGs and the like, but once you have the basic mechanics of your turn in your head you’re ready to go. It’s a game that is super easy to learn, but a challenge to master. And for that reason it has so much replayability for me.

The aim of the game is to gain as much ‘honour’ as you can. And you do this by recruiting heroes and defeating the monsters. Cards have all the stuff on them that you need to know, and the different clans work in slightly different ways. Card draw is key, so if you play it, it’s a good tactic to go for.

After my first came on that fateful Wednesday night, I was told by another friend that this game is available on iOS. What!

The instant I got home, I downloaded it straight away and began playing… it was exactly the same play experience! And you can either pass it around a group, or play against up to 3 AIs built into the game. I was kept occupied in this fashion for a good portion of the evening and most of the next one too. I should point out that the basic game was free. FREE! My favourite price. And for a tiny sum you can download the expansions, which I did and it adds more mechanics and more cards to the field. I like to mix it up by toggling different expansions on and off. Wild, I know.

I really want to pick up a copy of this game, so next time we get it back in stock I’ll be taking it home with me!

 

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Divergent on the Big Screen

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So, Divergent appeared on the big screen in April, and it took me until the end of the month to fit in seeing it, it was dangerously close to being cut from my local cinema, and down to one showing a day by the time I saw it… only 2 weeks after release. This doesn’t bode well for any film… but there are so many teenage-angst-dystopian films coming out at the moment that the odd one will slip under the radar.

When I came out of the screen it was the first time in a long time that I did a break down of what exactly the film did ‘wrong’ in comparison to the book. This isn’t normally a problem for me, as I read Hunger Games before I saw the movie and I didn’t have the same issues.

So… the majority of my initial thoughts were based on the movie as a comparison to the book… which is totally unfair as for me a book will [for the most part] win hands down as reading is my favourite. I have since tried to limit what I’m going to include to be mostly about what I actually saw on the screen. *fingers crossed*

The actors that played Four and Tris didn’t appear to have any chemistry between them at all, this is the biggest let down for me. The on screen moments were awkward and made me cringe a little bit.

The world building was very pretty, and I really liked all of the sets that we saw used for the Dauntless’ home. In my imagination the Pit was a lot more rocky, like it was actually a cave not some enormous concrete structure, but that worked for me. It probably made sense for a dilapidated Chicago.

The pacing in the movie was so much better than in the book, the start is nippy and we get straight into the action very quickly. The peril that Tris feels in her simulations came across really well, it was all very scary looking, in a mild peril sort of way.

I’m pretty sure they pronounced Erudite as err-you-dite the whole way through the film, which really bugged me for some reason. The Erudite as  a whole were a bit naff, they seemed too obvious to be the bad guys… I half expected to see them pouring toxic waste into the water supply and kicking puppies for good measure. That needed to be a bit more clever in my opinion.

I’m not sure that this film will get a sequal, which is a shame, as the second book has some far better ideas in it… and I’m still to read the last installment of this trilogy, but I’m really hoping it answers some of the final questions I have about the setting.

If you want to read my book review you can find it here.

Category: Film, Reviews | Tags: , , , , ,

More of The Amazing Spiderman

Just a small aside before I get started, I really wanted to see Divergent this week, but it was down to one showing a day whilst I was still in work, so I guess Imma have to wait fot the DVD for this one, which is a bit pants… but what can you do!

This week saw the return of The Amazing Spiderman. What can I say? It was stunning. We saw it in 2D, as 3D makes my eyes go fuzzy and my brain hurt after an hour or so. It was marvellous, and I could see where the 3D really would have come alive, with Spidey swinging from buildings and web shooting all over the show. And IMAX? Cor blimey you’d be in for a treat I reckon.

Andrew Garfield plays Spiderman so well, you really get the cheeky college boy feel from him, and he’s bouncy and adorable as well. He’s trying to do his best to save people, but the media is out to get him as per usual.

The continuing romance is so bittersweet, I think the chemistry between the two on screen is what made this movie for me, Emma Stone was so beautiful. And the not being able to be together because he feels so guilty over her father’s death, and oh the sadness. The sadness. Wow… Sometimes I’m glad I don’t know much about the comic book universe, because had I known  that was coming I would probably been less willing to go and see the movie.

The main plot felt messy to me, possibly because there were too many badguys introduced into one movie to make it coherent for me. I think they’re trying to set it up for the next film  where they have the 6 baddies fueled by OsCorp technology, but sticking Rhino in at the end didn’t work for me at all. It felt rushed. However, the little boy in his costume made that moment, Spidey stuck up for him, so he wanted to help Spidey out too.

I did enjoy the film as a whole, but I didn’t feel as engrossed in this one as I did with the previous Amazing Spiderman movie. I’m still looking forward to them finishing the trilogy off though.

 

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Loonacy by Looney Labs

Loonacy

Loonacy

Loonacy is a really neat little game… it’s so quick to pick up how to play and it can be played with anybody.

loonacy 1

The box says 2-5 players, but I recommend playing it with 3 or 4 people, that way you have a selection of piles open to play your cards onto. With 5 players, there is only 1 pile available and I could see this getting a little violent once you’ve gotten into the swing of things.

The interesting thing about this game is that you don’t take turns to play cards, if you can play something, you just do it, and hope that nobody interrupts you whilst you are doing so. Which can lead to frustration if you can’t play and everyone else is emptying their hand at a rate of knots.

loonacy 2

This game has no language content, as you are matching pictures, and the artwork is a glorious mixture of things you might recognise from other Looney Labs games with a few new [to me at least] images thrown in for good measure.

Several people that I played it with commented that it felt very un-British to be fighting to put cards down, and in I way I agree, it felt unusual to be aggressive, especially if you were trying to stop someone else in the middle of a card playing streak.

I played it a dozen times last week, and everyone who wasn’t convinced by ‘picture matching’ was sold after they had played it once. It’s a good starter game, or a filler game for in between big, serious games.

Some of my favourite quotes from last week playing this:

“I’ve got an abundance of toasters”

“What is that fluffy thing”

“What did you put a brain down for? That doesn’t help”

And a bunch of swearing when someone managed to empty their hand when we were all so close!

Sweet Reading

Sweet Shop of Dreams

Sweet Shop of Dreams

This book was a complete delight to read, it was a real quick adventure into Derbyshire and a sweet look at village life. Let’s face it, we all need some escape sometimes, and this book is perfect for that.

It’s a typical chick lit kind of story, woman doesn’t realise she needs more from life until circumstances change and force her to look at her life… but this time with a sweet shop added into the mix.

Each chapter is headed up with ‘excerpts’ from a book written by one of the characters, which describes a sweet, or the process of making it, sometimes with a little history thrown in. This served to make me want sweets… lots of sweets.

my sweetie haul

my sweetie haul

I got myself straight to an old-fashioned sweet shop as soon as I finished, as there was no way I was putting this book down. I’d never tried Edinburgh Rock before [the pastel lumps on the top right of the picture], but the description of it in the story made me want to try it.

This book isn’t a challenge, it’s a stroll in the park on a summer afternoon. Pick it up if you need a little light refreshment from whatever serious stuff you’re reading. It’s cute.

 

Captain America and the Nike Shoe Showdown

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I saw Captain America: Winter Soldier last week. I really enjoyed it as a whole, what’s not to love about a hero of the people with some super whizzy technology and a spy lady that is so bad ass you know you want to be her secretly.

It was highly noticable that the Winter Soldier was not the main plot point, so the name was wrong for me… he was good. It was an intriguing story and I imagine it is a big part in the Cap background from the comics. It was well acted, and the twist! Oh my, I wasn’t expecting to see that face behind his mask. I renamed the film accordingly, as there was painfully heavy amounts of Nike product placement going on. How many close up shots did we need of Captain America and Black Widow’s feet? Yes… trainers are super good for super sneaky sneaking around. I noticed mainly because I distracted by the tiny human whispering constantly for the duration of the film a couple of rows behind me, they took my mind off the movie and then I noticed things. It happens… tiny humans are banned!

Nick Fury’s car was super cool, it was like the Swiss Army Knife of vehicles, it knew everything… I like that. And it managed to drive itself for a time to. That’s the kind of car I need in my life. Or a chauffeur, yeah, one of those.

Cap is an excellent hero, although I’m not sure how likeable he is. Very rigid, and there’s something off about him. Falcon on the other hand is super! I want a solo film of him please, kthxbai. His exo-suit wing set up is wicked cool, and I want one, even though I might be terrified of heights. He’s a normal guy, who is just good at what he does. And has wings. More of that please!

Stan Lee’s walk on role was the best part of this film for me. I love the moments when he walks onto the screen and I turn to look at Alex smiling back at me. Movie magic.

The twins in the after credits cut scene intrigue me, I didn’t know who they were, but I probably should have been able to put two and two together after all the internetting that goes on in my brain. Will be interesting to see how they depart from mutants… and if there is ever a cross over with the X-men… same universe after all.

Go see it, Chris Evans is a beautiful man, and Scarlett Johansson is bamf.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

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Such pretty cover!

Such pretty cover!

Can I just start with the cover, look how pretty that is!

I have to admit that I am a bit of a fangirl when it comes to this series of books, I absolutely adore them. This series started with Cinder over 3 years ago, I was hooked as soon as I stumbled upon them. I didn’t expect it to happen, I was reluctant to read it as I didn’t want all the sci-fi elements to ruin a perfectly good fairy tale. It took a story that I knew and loved and made it new, and exciting, with androids and a threat from the moon!

Cress is the third book in this saga, a sci-fi retelling of Rapunzel. I mean that in it’s loosest sense. The main character in this story is Cress, who is locked inside a satellite isolated in orbit, she gets visited sporadically by one of the Queen’s thaumaturges who never brings anything sharp with them, so her hair has been left to grow and grow.

I really like the fact that she was set into orbit to observe the Earth for the Lunar Queen and ended up falling in love with what she surveyed, at heart she was a romantic, and saved from a terrible fate to be put into a worse position. She made the most of what she had.

Everything written about her hair was fantastic, how she ended up tangled in it when she was working and moving around. It really reminded me of the film Tangled… when you see her singing and dancing around the tower and she leaves a trail of hair everywhere.

Cress is my favourite character so far in this series, and her infatuation / growing love for Captain Thorne just made my heart melt. Thorne, normally so charming and able really comes to rely on the awkward space girl, and slowly their relationship grows and changes. He’s a charmer, but you can see the shifts in him. I ship them… so hard.

Cinder’s inner conflict is really well developed here, she doesn’t want to be like the Queen, or like the Lunars she was taught to despise, but she is one, and she uses her gifts sporadically, and only when she really has to. Everytime she does, you can feel what she does, a terrible situation to have to be in, but she ultimately has to do the right thing to save the Earth that she loves, and savee Luna from tyranny.

I loved the introduction of Princess Winter for the final book [why do I have to wait nearly a year?!]. She seems like such an odd contrast to her step mother, but however weird she seems, it’s because she too wants to be good and help the people and not manipulate them in the Lunar tradition. It’s all to her own detriment, not using her ‘gifts’ is sending her a little loopy, and Scarlet is locked in a cage as a pet – another element of drama. We need her Wolf to come and save her, the sooner the better!

Just stop what you are doing right now, and go find a copy of Cinder and Scarlet and Cress. You will thank me later, I’m hoping.

Do it for me?

– girlinthenerdshop

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