Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Game Christmas Gift Guide

Happy Christmas Readers,
I unintentionally took a month off, sorry guys. Thank you for showing your ongoing support it honestly means the world to me.

This is the first gift guide of this week and we are going to focus on gaming, the games I am going to mention are the games that I play continuously and have so much love for if you’ve seen my Instagram you’ve had some spoilers.

Nothing in this guide is a paid partnership or gifted. I am using poster images I have found through google I do not own any rights and am using the image purely for review purposes (Fair use under the copyright act sections 29 and 30 under use for a review).

Dungeon Keeper
Dungeon Keeper is a real-time strategy game that turns the entire fantasy genre on its head. The world of Dungeon Keeper is tongue-in-cheek and cartoony, but engrossing, substantial and not cuddly. In most games you are the hero, exploring the dungeon, slaying evil creatures and collecting treasure. This time you get to be the evil Dungeon Keeper, designing your dungeon and stock it with vicious creatures. You are given minimal information about the world other than you're evil, you have a dungeon, you want to take over the world, and Heroes will try to enter your dungeon to kill your lovely, creatures and steal your gold. If your dungeon is well designed, those heroes will end up as hero-meat.   
Available on GOG

Dungeon Keeper 2
Dungeon Keeper 2 shares the original's half-silly, half-scary visual design, the graphics have undergone an incredible refinement since the first game, lending Dungeon Keeper 2 had some of the best graphics you had ever seen at the time. There are only a few extra rooms you'd have hoped for much more from a sequel but we’ll take what we can get. The casino is neat, if only because a jackpot-winning minion starts dancing and singing when he wins (Disco Inferno!). Rooms have better graphics, though. The hen-houses in the hatchery, the on-wall bookshelves and torture racks, everything shows a subtle touch.
Available on GOG

Red Alert 3
Like the previous games in the Red Alert series, the game is set in an alternate reality from World War II, in which the Western Allies fight the Soviet Union. In Red Alert 3 the Soviet leadership, facing defeat, goes back in time to kill Albert Einstein and prevent his assistance to the allies, paving the way for Soviet domination in the present.

However, they never paid attention to the butterfly effect and created, a third world power, the Empire of the Rising Sun, is created and all three sides go to war. The three warring factions are fully playable, with the game play involving constructing a base, gathering resources and training armies to defeat other players. Each of the armies has their own a fully co-operative campaign, playable with either an artificial intelligence partner or with another player online as well as a story mode.

The game combines its strategy missions with full-motion video footage featuring an ensemble cast starring J.K. Simmons, Tim Curry and George Takei as the leaders of the three factions, this has always been one of my favourite thing about the red alert games.
Available on Origin

Command and Conquer General: Zero Hour
Generals takes place in a alternate mid-2010s. Players are given a choice of three Armies to play. In Generals, the United States and the People's Republic of China are the world's two superpowers, and are the targets of the Global Liberation Army (GLA), a borderless terrorist organisation. The United States and China are depicted as allies in the series who occasionally co-operate against the GLA, whose goal is to eliminate the military forces of China and the United States.

Like most other real-time strategy games, the player must construct a base, acquire resources, build various combat and support units, and defeat opponents. Various unit types can be constructed, ranging from infantry, vehicles and air units. Each side has its own unique characteristics and abilities. All sides share some similarities, such as training infantry at a barracks, building armoured units and "high tech" building. Each building unlocks more advanced units, which allows you to acquire additional resources and even unlock a unique super-weapon.
Available on Origin

The Sims 4
For anyone who doesn’t know the Sims is a life simulation game. Out of the two I have played Sims 4 is my favourite and I’ll be honest I love all the custom content. Just in case any of the people who create custom content thank you so much I love the effort you put in and thank you for creating amazing custom houses. Okay back to the game, players make their own Sim character and control their life to explore different personalities which change the way the game plays out.

Your Sims' moodlets changes the game play by influencing the sims' emotional state, introducing new interaction options. I also love the expansion packs and I own two packs and can’t wait to expand.  Similar to previous Sims games, player-created challenges abound. One of the most prevalent is the Legacy Challenge, in which players create a single Sim and try to make its family line last for ten generations.

It’s a great game to lose 3 hours without realising.
Available on Origin

L x

Monday, 9 December 2019

Friday, 22 November 2019

Review: Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez

Hello Readers
Thank you, Jamie for sending me a Sweet Black Waves by Kristina Pérez for free in exchange for an honest review.

I am back with new posts, sorry I haven’t been as active the past two weeks but I have done so much reading and I can't wait to share the books with you. If you saw the video on my Facebook or Instagram you know the funny story about this book if not here we go.

Before YALC two years ago Mother Goose and I went to an event at Forbidden Planet where we got to meet Kristina Perez. At the event, I picked up a hardback copy of Sweet Black Waves after I paid Mother Goose nabbed it and got it signed and personalised to her. Mother Goose then kidnapped the book never to be seen again. It's fine I’ve got the second book stashed away. 
Sweet Black Waves is a retelling of the legend of Tristan and Iseult. The story of Tristan and Iseult follows two star-crossed lovers who were not supposed to fall in love kind of like Romeo and Juliet (Before Romeo and Juliet there was Tristan + Isolde yes I remember the tagline of the film). I loved so many elements of this Tristan and Isolde retelling, particularly those to do with the Celtic inspired mythology and magic. 

I love the influence from the Irish legend and Celtic inspiration was clear throughout the story. I can’t think of a moment during the book where I lost interest. There was always something lurking in the story and that kept me on the edge of my seat. Alongside the story of the warring nations and the politics between them, we have the story of the cousins, Old Gods and magic. Ivernic was a place I could easily picture and somewhere I would love to visit. I love the old castle overlooking a sea there’s something about this imagery that is magical to me. The people that Kristina has created for Ivernic sound loyal and hardy and there isn’t any pompous nobility.

As I was reading Sweet Black WavesI found myself engrossed in the wonderful world that Kristina created. Kristina’s writing style is wonderful and she spins a beautiful tale that is just as magical as the story itself. It was a familiar, yet different place to any I have read before, and I loved that. Despite knowing the original story and ending through Kristina’s wonderful writing, I managed to fool myself into thinking that there would be a happy ending and found myself wanting one for these characters. Towards the end of the book, you can feel things spiralling out of control and it took my breath away at the very last.

Kristina is a medieval historian and linguist, and it shows the world building is utterly convincing. This understanding allows Kristina to pushes further, into magic cauldrons, and depths of the sea. This is the first book in a trilogy, however, despite the setup, it was still very enjoyable to read. Kristina even included a glossary and a list of the characters which made reading this book so easy. There is also a map and it is gorgeous, who doesn’t love a map.

I could honestly walk around in this book coastal setting in medieval Ivernic and experience the whimsy of its magic all day. This book is fantastic and its worth existing in Kristina’s world for even a little bit.

L x

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Nightmare Scenario by Hazel Clarke

Hello Readers,

Anyone got a sense of deja vu, do not panic today is a full review of Nightmare Scenario by Hazel Clarke. On 17th October I was lucky enough to have a stop on the blog tour. 

Thank you again, Bookollective for inviting me onto the tour on behalf of Salad Pages and for sending me a copy of Nightmare Scenario by Hazel Clarke for free in exchange for an honest review. 
As soon as I started this book, I knew I was in for a special ride. This is one of them books that takes you by the hand and tells you to run. I think the blurb has done a wonderful job and provides a great overview without spoilers and spoon-feeding.

Our main character is Gracie Thrace, she is well developed and easily relatable. Gracie is 18-year-old and has just started university and living in a day and age where automaton housemaids are common in countless households. Without too many spoilers, the first and most important theme in this book is mental health and the second major theme deals with is the development of technology.

Mental health plays a huge role in Gracie's plight, bringing elements of schizophrenia and psychosis to light in an unapologetic and honest way. Hazel’s clever handling of this topic was brave and true but didn't deflect from an already fascinating tale.

IrukaTech makes and controls the Hourglasses that are installed on the wrists of everyone. Hourglasses are like a mobile phone however unlike out mobile phones, the tracking can’t be turned off, which means the police and IrukaTech can track any person at any given time. How scary is this thought like honestly? Just thing about it, I hardly ever have my location on my phone activated.

A mind-altering drug called Hydrobliss is being tested in secret by IrukaTech four human test subjects have been given Hydrobliss. Thanks to Hydrobliss and IrukaTech Gracie hears four voices in her head: Psyche, Eros, Kai and Terry, I love this homage to Greek mythology and good old Kai and Terry.

Both themes are dealt with beautifully and respectfully especially the metal health theme it was deep and emotional and you easily felt a connection to Gracie. Hazel’s writing constructs an engaging honest and raw story that envelops you in her dystopian world and through the unsettling times.

L x

Monday, 28 October 2019

Alton Towers Scarefest 2019 Review

Happy Halloween Readers,
Today I am going to be reviewing my two-day trip to Scarefest at Alton Towers (24/10/19-25/1019). I didn’t do any of the scaremazes as my instinct when jump scared is to punch so not great for anyone really. This is going to be more of a review of the atmosphere of Scarefest and night rides. Day one vlog, Day two vlog.

This year was my first Scarefest despite visiting through the year and admiring Scarefest from afar. I am a little mad it has taken me so long to go during Scarefest. I loved the extra time in the park the extra hours till 9 pm mean your day can slow down a little while still allowing you to fit more in. We went as a group of four and we all agreed that we wanted to go for night rides so the mazes weren’t the main attraction for us as a group. Maybe next year, for us the night rides were the best, Wicker man takes on a whole new sinister atmosphere. The only ride without any atmospheric lighting is Thirteen which turns it into a mainly blackout coaster and we went on it four times in the dark.

I did watch a load of vlogs about Scarefest on Youtube so I would have an idea what to expect the only thing I can say I missed was the live actor scare zones in the park but I think the last time they had scare zones were back in 2017 or I may have just missed them.  That being said The Alton Ancestors are rising from the grave to perform energetic dance routines for guests entering the park on Towers Street and in the Gloomy Wood throughout the day.

I like the Ancestors because they aren’t terrifying, or there to scare they are there to be entertaining and welcome you the park. For the little ones, The Freaky Five have their ‘Freaky Fun Zone’ on the lawns at Towers Street. Gretyl, Franklin, Skelvin, Patch, and Phil perform four family-friendly shows throughout the day for all ages. We ended up watching one of The Freaky Five shows from Coffee Corner and we actually enjoyed it and had a little bit of a shameful singalong to the glee covers while warming up a little.

Alton Towers has spent a lot of time and effort getting Towers Street ready for Scarefest there are pumpkins, The Hearse and The Scarefest sign. There are lots of opportunities to take photos and selfies down Tower Street and I loved the pumpkins ‘themed’ around Alton Towers rides. My favourite decoration was the three ghosts using projections just off to the side of Tower Street towards mutiny bay. The park is filled with additional lighting to ensure the pathways are illuminated for the evening I’ve seen comments about the generators being too noisy honestly, they didn’t bother us at all.

My best bit of advice not just for Scarefest but visiting Alton Towers is to download the app you get access to live queue times, offers and directions while you’re in the park. Also if its wet or you need a little warming up don't forget to visit Shark Bait reef (Sealife). 

My Best Day Rides

Mother Goose Best Day Rides
Wicker man
Runaway mine train

My Best Night Rides
Wicker Man

Mother Gooses Best Night Rides
Wicker Man (It lost points for in incense smell)

*The reason Galactica doesn’t make it into my top 5 day rides is I love it I find it almost relaxing I know I’m odd, whereas in the night ride you can no longer see the track and it makes it more interesting for me.

L x

Friday, 25 October 2019

Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson

Happy Halloween Readers,
Today is the final day of classical monsters’ week and we are looking at the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. Also, today is my second day at Alton Towers Scarefest check out my Instagram for Vlogs.

This is such a short book (88 pages) but don’t let that pull the wool over your eyes. The novella crams a complete, fully-fleshed story by using a magnificent dual of points of view changes, dialogue and flashback. I love Victorian horror it's so weird and wild and all about challenging social norms. In lesser hands, the amount of information and story contained in this tale would have required a lot more paper.

 There’s a reason this novella has stood the test of time - it is creepy and interesting as hell. In addition to being a model of bluntness and for me it adds to the enjoyment of the story. There's a lot of discussion and symbolism in the book about dual natures: the city itself, and even Jekyll's home which shows how good and bad can co-existing side by side. Dr Henry Jekyll is a brilliant man who in the course of trying to understand the human psyche has turned himself into a guinea pig for his experiments. He has unleashed a power from within that is turning out to be too formidable to be properly contained.

I think there’s something terrifying about the idea of losing humanity and sanity, at first due to your own choices but later because of forces, you cannot control. It is still a chilling thought to acknowledge that we all have “polar twins" that are "continuously struggling" in order to both satisfy self and present well in society.

Jekyll begins to revert to Hyde without taking any of his potion. He continually wakes up as Hyde until, one day, there is no Dr Jekyll. It is as though he has never existed, and Mr Hyde is all that is left of him.

Overall, this is one of those classics that lives up to its name and rightfully belongs among the highlights of gothic fiction.

L x

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Happy Halloween Readers,
Yesterday we looked at The Prince of Darkness, Dracula and today we are looking at the untold story of his Brides. We all know I love a good retelling and Dracula so imagine my surprise when I found out we were getting a book told from the point of view of Dracula’s Brides with the tagline Gothic, feminist and darkly provoking. 

First of this book is absolutely stunning the gold detailing under the dust jacket is beautiful and the illustrations are beautiful. I also got my copy from Waterstones so I could have the red sprayed edges.

The Deathless Girls is the first book I’ve read by Kiran and it won’t be the last I thought her writing was beautiful. I enjoyed the setting for this story, returning Dracula to his Transylvanian roots and giving us some background for his brides and there’s a creeping dread, threaded throughout the book as the reader is aware of the story.

Kiran manages to create rich, lush feel even when she’s describing quite mundane, depressing situations. We know from the outset that things probably won't end that well for the sisters, but the journey to get there was gripping and full of folklore. It deals gracefully with the prejudices that would be experienced by the traveller community and by queer women while fleshing out the characters and paying homage to the original text. Kiran does not shy away from the book’s brutal world and the horror’s men can commit upon defenceless people. However, this is also a story of women and how they can support each other through terrible circumstances, which is wonderful to see. 

The book was full of gothic atmosphere, but at the same time felt modern and fresh, It was very easy to fly through the pages and made for a very quick read. Kiran also does an excellent job writing the romantic storyline between two female characters. At no point did this feel forced and feels like a natural sub-plot.

The book follows twins Kizzy and Lil, Romani travellers, who on their 17th birthday are kidnapped and enslaved by the feared local lord, the Boyar Valcar. A journey that sees them have to grow up very quickly and learn to make tough decisions as they find themselves in the strange castle of Boyar Valcar until, on the orders of the Boyar, Kizzy is taken as a gift for Dracul. I honestly have so much love and appreciation for the Romani folklore in this novel and I loved learning about Kizzy and Lil background, their beliefs and culture. 

 The vampire aspect of the story isn’t quite as predominant as I thought it would be, but once you know that it is inspired by Dracula, you become aware very early on what’s going on and the danger the girls are in. As Lil journeys across the country to the land ruled by the man known as the Dragon, she starts to understand some of the rumours circulating about him. She learns he can turn people into Strigoi. For most of the book, the bond between the two sisters is far more important than vampires. It’s a story filled with mythology and legends, the legend of Dracula and vampires is an ancient one that is strikingly familiar for most of us but this story gives us an added layer to the complex mythology.

I am a big fan of a retelling let alone a feminist retelling I also love that this book has imagined the untold stories of characters in Stoker's famous novel. 
Also look how stunning it looks next to Dracula!!!

L x

Thursday, 17 October 2019

Blogtour: Nightmare Scenario by Hazel Clarke

Hello readers,
Today I am part of the blog tour for Nightmare Scenario. I’ve got a spotlight and a mini review just for you with a full review coming on the 1st November.  Thank you again, Bookollective for inviting me onto the tour and for sending me a copy of Nightmare Scenario by Hazel Clarke for free in exchange for an honest review.

Title:  Nightmare Scenario
Author: Hazel Clarke
Pages: 320 pages
Publisher: Salad Pages
Genre: Science Fiction Dystopian Romance and Young Adult
Cover Image:
The rules for the Nightmare Scenario: 1. The player must complete the scenario to gain points and reach the next level. 2. The voices can help during the scenario. 3. The scenario will access the player's fears. 4. The characters in the scenario can physically harm the player. 5. Once started, the scenario must be completed. Do you accept the scenario? Yes, or no? Eighteen-year-old Gracie Thrace has a secret. Four months ago, she started to hear voices that force her to carry out frightening scenarios. With her father abroad and her relationship with her high-powered mother strained, Gracie has no one to turn to for solace. When a new voice called Kai materialises, Gracie finds herself attached to his kindness. Kai offers the support Gracie craves, but how can she possibly let herself fall for someone who isn't real? Set in 2047 London, Nightmare Scenario is a complex and touching love story that explores the stigma around mental illness and offers a daunting prediction of the future where technology infiltrates every part of society.

Author links:
Full Review coming 1st November
As soon as I started this book, I knew I was in for a special ride. This is one of them books that takes you by the hand and tells you to run. I think the synopsis provides a great overview of the Nightmare Scenario without introducing spoilers. Hazel’s writing constructs an engaging honest and raw story that envelops you in her dystopian world and through the unsettling times. Without spoilers, the first and most important theme is mental health and the second major theme deals with is the development of technology. Both themes are dealt with beautifully and respectfully especially the metal health theme it was deep and emotional and you easily felt a connection to the main character.

L x

Sunday, 13 October 2019

True Crime Week: Lizzie Borden

Happy Halloween Readers,

I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our final serial killer is Lizzie Borden, tell me honestly do you think she did it?

As with the other serial killers I have mentioned this week, I am still missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research. No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

You must have heard the rhyme?
Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks,
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

 The popularity of the poem is a testament to the public's fascination with the 1893 murder trial of Lizzie Borden. Lizzie was an American woman suspected of murdering her stepmother and father in 1892; her trial became a national sensation in the United States. The source of that fascination might be brutal nature of the crime given that Lizzie was female and young and also the fact the jury's acquitted Lizzie despite the evidence that most historians find compelling.

Let us rewind a little. Before their murders, Andrew and Abby had been living in the humble, Greek-Revival house on Second Street with Andrew’s grown daughters Emma and Lizzie as well as their maid, Bridget Sullivan. Lizzie was popular and engaged in charitable work. Her father, by contrast, was supposedly stubborn and ungenerous as well as exceptionally wealthy and apparently, Lizzie and her elder sister Emma were at odds with him and their stepmother, often over financial matters.

On a Thursday morning, August 4, 1892, Mr Borden left home to conduct his business, leaving in the house, Emma was out of town, staying with friends, on that fateful day, leaving only Lizzie and the maid at home when the murders were committed.

On his return, Mr Borden settled on a couch for a nap. About 11:15 AM, Lizzie discovered her father dead and upstairs his wife’s body was found. Two key facts seemed to rule out a stranger if I’m honest. Firstly, the front door and basement door was locked and secondly, even if the killer had found a way inside, the hour and a half interval between the murders seems odd.

Police found a hatchet in the basement though free of blood was missing most of its handle. Lizzie was arrested on August 11th a grand jury began hearing evidence on November 7th and indicted her on December 2nd.

 It was found that Lizzie had tried to purchase a poison on August 3rd, and a few days later she was alleged to have burned a dress in a stove. Bridget, who had also been suspected was reportedly seen leaving the house carrying an unexamined parcel the same night.

Lizzie was arrested and tried for both murders in June 1893 but was acquitted, given the evidence. She was nonetheless ostracized thereafter
People refused to sit near her at church. And children, probably daring each other to tempt the murderess, would ring her doorbell in the middle of the night and pelt her house with gravel and eggs.

Good on Lizzie though despite all this she stayed in Fall River, Massachusetts, until her death in 1927. 



True Crime Week: John Wayne Gacy

Happy Halloween Readers,
I put out a poll on both Twitter and Instagram asking if you guys would be interested in a true-crime week for Halloween you guys said yes so here, we are. This week I will be looking at Peter Sutcliffe, Ted Bundy, Richard Ramirez, Jeffrey Dahmer, Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy and Lizzie Borden.

Our first serial killer of the day is John Wayne Gacy also known as Pogo the clown. Obviously, a clown had to work its way in here what’s Halloween without a killer clown.  As with the other serial killers I have mentioned this week, I am still missing out the details if you really need to know you can do your own research. No copyright infringement is intended the photo is used for educational purposes.

To many people, John Wayne Gacy was a friendly man who loved to entertain young children by dressing up as Pogo the clown. He was also considered by most to be a pillar of the community.

John was the son of Danish and Polish parents; John and his siblings grew up with an alcoholic father who would beat the children and their mother. John suffered further hostility at school as he was unable to play with other children due to a heart condition.

Despite the abuse, John admired his father and constantly sought his approval. In return, his father would hurl insults at him, telling him he was stupid and acted like a girl (Actual quote sorry). John later realised he was attracted to men, and experienced confusion over his sexuality throughout his life. When John was 7 years old, he was molested repeatedly by a friend of the family. However, John never said anything as he feared his father would find him at fault and as a result would be severely punished.

The first warning signs about John later behaviour showed in 1964 when he was found guilty of sodomizing two young boys. John was arrested and spent 18 months in prison. By the time he was released, John was divorced and decided to move to Chicago for a fresh start.

John worked as a fast-food chain manager before becoming a self-made building contractor and Democratic precinct captain in the Chicago suburbs in the 1970s. John volunteered as the Democratic Precinct Captain in his area. During this time, he threw elaborate block parties and built a solid reputation in his community. and was respected and admired by friends, neighbours, and police officers.

During July 1975, a teenager who worked for John disappeared. His parent’s pleaded with Chicago police officers to investigate John, but they never did. This would not be the last time worried parents asked officials to review John as a suspect, but the pleas fell on deaf ears.

Finally, On December 13, 1978, a search warrant on John’s home was granted. While investigators searched his home and cars, John was at the police station giving an oral and written statement about his activities. When John learned that his house had been searched, he went into a fit of anger well so would you if that’s where you hid 26 bodies under the crawl space and three others elsewhere on his property, 

Eight days into the investigation the lead detective went to the victim’s home to bring his parents up to date. During the conversation, a receipt was mentioned. The same receipt was found in the evidence collected during the search of John's house. Further forensic tests were performed and proved John had been lying.

Those closest to John were interviewed by detectives on multiple occasions and John realised it was just a matter of time before the extent of his crimes would be exposed. John began to buckle under the pressure, and his behaviour turned bizarre. But what finally led to his arrest that day was a drug deal that was performed in full view of the surveillance team.

While in police custody, John was informed that a second search warrant of his home had been issued. Some of John’s employees admitted that John had paid them to go down into the crawl space to dig trenches. Which lead the investigators to the bodies during the search of his house.

John was executed by lethal injection on May 9, 1994.