Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: The Stitchers (Fright Watch #1) by Lorien Lawrence

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*No Major Spoilers*

Something strange is happening on Goodie Lane . . .

Thirteen-year-old Quinn Parker knows that there’s something off about her neighbors. She calls them “the Oldies” because they’ve lived on Goodie Lane for as long as anyone can remember, but they never seem to age. Are they vampires? Or aliens? Or getting secret experimental surgeries? Or is Quinn’s imagination just running wild again?

If her dad were still around, he’d believe her. When he was alive, they’d come up with all sorts of theories about the Oldies. Now, Quinn’s determined to keep the investigation going with the help of Mike, her neighbor and maybe-crush. They’ll have to search for clues and follow the mystery wherever it leads—even if it’s to the eerie pond at the end of the street that’s said to have its own sinister secrets. But the Oldies are on to them. And the closer Quinn and Mike get to uncovering the answers, the more they realize just how terrifying the truth may be.


Posted in Book Reviews

REVIEW: Rattus New Yorkus (One Size Eats All #2) by Hunter Shea

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*No Major Spoilers*

THEY’RE BIGGER
Deep in the sewers of New York City, the rat population is growing. Dr. Randolph Finch is determined to break the cycle. His new rodenticide, Degenesis, doesn’t kill rats. It sterilizes them from reproducing. But nothing adapts faster than a New York rat . . .

THEY’RE SMARTER
City exterminators and soon-to-be divorced Chris and Benita “Benny” Jackson think they know how these rats think. They know how rats breed. And they fear that Degenesis has only made these rats stronger. More aggressive. More intelligent. And more ravenous than ever . . .

TONIGHT’S DINNER SPECIAL: US
After a noticeable surge in rat den activity, the Jacksons witness something strange. Without warning, the rats disappear—only to reassemble in a massive lair beneath Grand Central Station. Millions upon millions of them. Working together. Operating as a hive mind. Feasting on the flesh of the homeless below—and planning their all-out attack on the unsuspecting humans above.


In 2018, I read Mr. Shea’s novel Montauk Monster and I enjoyed it so much that I knew I had to read more of Mr. Shea’s works. Similar to Rattus New Yorkus is another novel I haven’t had a chance to read; Vermin 2.0 by Lee Gabel. Both share the theme of rats rising up and fighting back against the exterminators. So let’s get into the depths of New York’s sewers in Rattus New Yorkus.

I liked the main characters Chris and Benny. Rarely does Chris call her Benita, so throughout this review I will refer to her by her nickname Benny. I think it was interesting to see them work together even after they got divorced. There wasn’t much drama between the two or much animosity. They both seemed to have the understanding that they were more meant to be friends and not spouses.

The idea of a ‘harmless’ way to stop the rats from reproducing sounds laughable to a certain extent. A poison that only stops their ability to produce young sounds like something a environment-conscious scientist came up with.

Posted in Book Reviews, Graphic Novels, Non-Fiction

UPDATED REVIEW: Pirate Queen: The Legend of Grace O’Malley By Tony Lee and Sam Hart

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*Historical Spoilers*

A true daughter of the fearsome O’Malley clan, Grace spent her life wishing to join the fight to keep Henry VIII’s armies from invading her homeland of Ireland — only to be told again and again that the battlefield is no place for a woman. But after English conspirators brutally murder her husband, Grace can no longer stand idly by. Leading men into battle on the high seas, Grace O’Malley quickly gains a formidable reputation as the Pirate Queen of Ireland with her prowess as a sailor and skill with a sword. But her newfound notoriety puts the lives of Grace and her entire family in danger and eventually leads to a confrontation with the most powerful woman in England: Queen Elizabeth I. With a gripping narrative and vivid, action-packed illustrations, the fourth entry in Tony Lee and Sam Hart’s Heroes and Heroines series captures the intensity and passion of one of history’s fiercest female warriors.


I have been waiting for a long time to find a good pirate story. Sure it’s nonfiction, however, Pirate Queen takes the high-stakes adventures of pirating up to 11. I love how this is not just a story about pirates and how they were degenerates and on the lowest caste of society. This is a story about how a woman saw that her country needed her, and not only stepped up to the plate, but made a name for herself as the Queen of the Pirates.

I am not familiar with the time period or Grace O’Malley and I think this graphic novel does an excellent job at telling a complicated story. A story that I imagine has been lost to time to a certain extent due to the “colonization” of Ireland. I never felt lost or confused as the story progressed and seeing how not only Grace’s worldview changed over time, but the world as a whole was changing.

My favorite part was how the O’Malley clan was deep in a battle and Grace was below decks giving birth to a baby boy. As soon as the birth was complete, she wrapped her baby up and went to confront the British soldiers. So awesome to see how progressive she was for her time.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Overall, I enjoyed Pirate Queen. There was plenty of swashbuckling action as well as plenty of heart and emotion. I think if you liked the movie Brave or are itching for a good pirate story then I would highly recommend checking this graphic novel out.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

UPDATED REVIEW: Dog on It (Chet and Bernie Mystery #1) by Spencer Quinn

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*No Major Spoilers*

Meet Chet, the wise and lovable canine narrator of Dog on It, who works alongside Bernie, a down-on-his-luck private investigator. Chet might have flunked out of police school (“I’d been the best leaper in K-9 class, which had led to all the trouble in a way I couldn’t remember exactly, although blood was involved”), but he’s a detective through and through.

In this, their first adventure, Chet and Bernie investigate the disappearance of Madison, a teenage girl who may or may not have been kidnapped, but who has definitely gotten mixed up with some very unsavory characters. A well-behaved, gifted student, she didn’t arrive home after school and her divorced mother is frantic. Bernie is quick to take the case-something about a cash flow problem that Chet’s not all that clear about-and he’s relieved, if vaguely suspicious, when Madison turns up unharmed with a story that doesn’t add up. But when she disappears for a second time in a week, Bernie and Chet aren’t taking any chances; they launch a full-blown investigation. Without a ransom demand, they’re not convinced it’s a kidnapping, but they are sure of one thing: something smells funny.

Their search for clues takes them into the desert to biker bars and other exotic locals, with Chet’s highly trained nose leading the way. Both Chet and Bernie bring their own special skills to the hunt, one that puts each of them in peril. But even as the bad guys try to turn the tables, this duo is nothing if not resourceful, and the result is an uncommonly satisfying adventure.


I love a good mystery involving a dog or cat. So, when I stumbled upon this mystery series I knew I had to check it out. So let’s dive into Dog On It.

I thought it was a really cool idea to tell the story through Chet’s POV (point of view). The things us humans focus on and think about vs what our canine companions must think about is so funny and heartwarming. Chet sees his best friend as the smartest guy he’s ever met and that he knows “money trouble” is a constant worry. Chet has no concept of such human things, but he is there to support Bernie through thick and thin.

“A wild-goose chase! I’d heard that expression so many times but never been on one. It sounded like the most exciting thing in the whole world. Yes, I wanted to go on a wild-goose chase, and if that meant Vegas, so be it.”

Spencer Quinn “Dog On It”

One negative I have is how much Chet repeats himself. By the time I got halfway through the book it seemed like the case was in the same standstill as we were in several chapters ago. Once Bernie finally figured out a “big clue” I was yelling at my phone in joy that the mystery was finally progressing and we were going to nab the bad guys.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Overall, I liked this novel. I think if you’re a fan of David Rosenfelt then you would enjoy this series. The focus isn’t so much on the mystery in this series as it is the bond between a PI and his dog. However, I think it’s worth the read.

Posted in Discussions, Personal Blogs

My Thoughts on Project: Triangle Strategy Demo

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*No Major Story Spoilers*

Three nations battle for control of the dwindling resources of salt and iron

Command a group of warriors as Serenoa, heir of House Wolffort, in a tangled plot where your decisions make all the difference. Key choices you make will bolster one of three convictions—Utility, Morality, Liberty—which together make up Serenoa’s world view and influence how the story will unfold. When faced with truly momentous decisions, multiple characters will weigh in by casting their votes on the Scales of Conviction. In these moments, the allies and decisions you make can determine the fate of whole nations and the continent of Norzelia itself.


When Nintendo announced Octopath Traveler a couple of years ago I fell in love with the art style, the story, and the turn-based battles. Even though I am not the best at strategizing and had to look up some guides for some of the more difficult bosses, I still loved the game. Now that the developers have come out with a new story, I am more than ready to fight the good fight.

I have played the introductory demo for Project: Triangle Strategy and it is like a highly stylized Fire Emblem. I felt like I got a good introduction into the story without spoiling too much, and I can’t wait to see how this game is going to develop. Will this just be a continuation of the ongoing SaltIron War or is this a whole new war? I can’t wait to find out!

I hope the tutorial will be more in depth than the one in the demo. When I played the demos for Octopath, I struggled with the battle system because I was skipping the tutorial. However, after I died several times I paid attention to the explanation of the battle system and I have to say it’s easy to learn, but difficult to master.

The difficulty spike between the two demo battles was noticeable. With the first battle, I only lost one companion. In the second I lost almost all of my team except for three. I still had fun, but that was an uphill battle I wasn’t expecting.

I could replay the demo to unlock the other optional battle and see if it’s the same difficulty spike or if it was easier, but maybe I will when the full game releases. I flip flop between a gamer who just wants to enjoy the game and story, and then I also want to be a completionist. That was something I was internally struggling with in Paper Mario: Origami King.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Overall, I enjoyed this first taste of Triangle Strategy. The combat was fun and interesting, the story seemed really interesting, and it seems like the choices actually do matter. So if you’re interesting in turn-based RPGs or games like Fire Emblem, then I would recommend you checking this demo out!