Choice of Robots – Video Game Review

robotsAn entirely text based game, written by a doctor of computer science Kevin Gold, PhD, that will remind you of the old Choose Your Own Adventure books, where every decision you make dramatically affects the outcome. Though in reality, it is really more of a novel than a game. I played through the first time in roughly 5 hours one day and I truly enjoyed myself. It has tons of replay value, if you want to explore every potential path. I personally, only had interest to play twice through. There were some story-lines I was not interested in exploring.

However, for those 5 hours, this was a fun experience. Every now and then it’s nice to play something that is not made to feel like a cinematic movie.

If you like decision based games or books, this story will be a fun afternoon.

You can learn more at the Steam store.

Check out Choice of Games LLC to learn more.

Synopsis: The robots you design will change the world! Will you show them the true meaning of love, or conquer Alaska with your robot army?

Choice of Robots is an epic 300,000-word interactive sci-fi novel by Kevin Gold, where your choices control the story. It’s entirely text-based—without graphics or sound effects—and fueled by the vast, unstoppable power of your imagination.

Play out thirty years of your life as a brilliant robot maker, from graduate school near the present day to a future in which your robots have changed everything. Depending on your choices, your robots may be independent or obedient, clumsy or graceful, empathic or cold…and you yourself may live to an old age happily married or alone with only robots to comfort you.

Play as male or female, gay or straight, with nine characters to romance, four alternate climax chapters, and over seventy achievements to unlock.

• Build a unique robot character–you choose everything from its shape to what it calls you
• Instigate or prevent a robotic uprising
• Teach your robots to love humanity, or disdain it
• Build an artificial intelligence suitable to take control of the world’s governments
• Start a war against the United States, and win
• Marry a human or an advanced robot, and start a family 

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King’s Quest – Video Game Review

headerA whimsical and entertaining point & click adventure, where choices you make change the course of your journey. This was a thoroughly well crafted game. For people who enjoy puzzles, this 5 chapter episodic journey will keep your mind active and sharp, especially in chapter 4.

I truly enjoyed the game, until chapter 4. It was puzzle after repetitive puzzle and I just wanted the game to end. The story was fun though, especially the first 3 chapters and I enjoyed the ride throughout that section.

For puzzle lovers who love lighthearted games then this game will be enjoyable. If you like point & click, but prefer light puzzling, you will enjoy this game up until chapter 4. I found YouTube walkthrough cheating was what got me through in the end (when I stopped caring and just wanted it to end).

Regardless, the story was cute and I enjoyed making decisions.

It is available on most major platforms including XBOX One/360, PS4/3, and PC.

Check out the developer website Sierra and learn more about the game.

Reviews located on Steam.

Synopsis: King’s Quest is a collection of five different chapter releases, each focusing on an untold tale in Graham’s past. In each chapter, an aging King Graham reflects on his life of adventure with his granddaughter, Gwendolyn, while players are transported back to influence first-hand the decisions and events that shaped a kingdom. Embark on an extraordinary journey across the world of Daventry.

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Pale Hearts – Emily Eckart – Short Stories

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Short stories are great for when the night is late and you need a quick read. Eckart’s stories have kept me company this past month as the lights were dimmed and the Sandman set in.

Eckart has been published in several major publications, including Potomac Review and Nature. This encouraged my decision when I agreed to read this collection. I have to say that I was glad to have said yes. Her writing is on a different level than the everyday story. It is deeper and more thoughtful. With each ending you are left pondering the events and what they mean. A poetic writer, she captures the darkness of reality. These are not happy tales, they are real tales with consequences that are not always pretty.

I enjoyed this collection, though a bit dark for my overall tastes. I would have preferred an uplifting tale thrown in once in a while to balance the others. But I only complain because I read to escape reality, not bathe in it. And Eckart keeps it real. A gifted writer like Eckart deserves to be heard and her collection will leave you wanting more.

You can find the stories on Amazon in Kindle for $2.99 and in paperback for $14.99.

Synopsis: What happens when a safety app isn’t enough to protect a child? Is there really such a thing as a Grechtzoar? What really is the nature of happiness? How do we quantify it? These questions and more are answered in the pages of breakout author Emily Eckart’s “Pale Hearts,” a collection of short stories. Emily’s writing has something for everyone, and her heartfelt stories leave the reader with a sense of longing for a place and time they may never have known.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE STORIES

6832463Emily Eckart studied music at Harvard University.  Her writing has appeared in The Washington Post, Nature, Potomac Review, New World Writing, and elsewhere. Besides writing, she is interested in classical music and environmental conservation. She is currently at work on her first novel.

CONNECT WITH EMILY

Website

Goodreads

 

 

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Tales from the Borderlands – A Telltale Game Series (Video Game Review)

tales-from-the-borderlands-logoI’m obsessed. This was by far one of the best games I have ever played. The level of character development and the level of feelings this game evoked was just mind-blowing. Telltale outdid themselves with this story. Every choice I made felt like a life or death decision.

I’ve been really into point and click games, especially those that have a huge story driven focus. Telltale is the master of these types of games and this is by far the best one I have played. It has injected me with the drive to play the original Borderlands game by developer Gearbox Software and publisher 2K Games, which is something I have been hemming and hawing about for some time.

If you like heavy story emphasis, decision making play style, and a science fiction/dystopian atmosphere this is the game for you.

So damn good!

Synopsis: Tales from the Borderlands is a five part episodic game series from the creators of The Wolf Among Us and The Walking Dead: A Telltale Games Series. Set on the unforgiving world of Pandora after the events seen in Borderlands 2, this is a story full of Borderlands’ trademark humor, following two adventurers on their quest for greatness.

You’ll play as Rhys, a Hyperion ‘suit’ with dreams of being the next Handsome Jack, and Fiona, a Pandoran con artist looking to score her biggest ever swindle. Thrown together as unwilling partners in an adventure to recover cash they both think is theirs, their journey will take you on a wild ride where gangsters, bandit lords, and Vault Hunters are just some of the obstacles you’ll encounter, in this new take on the award-winning universe created by Gearbox Software.

• Play as Rhys, on a mission to make Hyperion his
• Play as Fiona, on a mission to make the money hers (all of it)
• Explore Pandora as never before: familiar and new locations brought to life as more than mere cannon fodder
• Your choices matter, changing the story around you, and making the tale yours

Check it out on Steam for $24.99 (currently). Steam prices fluctuate with frequent sales. Also, it is available for the PS4 $16.41, PS3 $9.99, XBOX One $12.39/360 $9.99, PC $12.97.

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Quirky Book Sirens – Bitches of Everafter – Episode 10

In this episode of the Quirky Book Sirens: At the Book Shelf edition, we discuss and review The Bitches of Everafter by Barbra Annino. Don’t mind our winter hats, we were just being cozy for our winter episode!

Special Guest: Jayme Beddingfield

The Bitches of Everafter (Everafter Trilogy #1) – Barbra Annino

 

QUIRKY BOOK SIRENS:

AT THE BOOKSHELF EDITION REVIEW

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Sheilah’s Review:

If you love Disney and the sweetness of it, then turn back now, because theses bitches ain’t gonna give you any toothaches.

This was such fun to read! Disney princesses re-imagined in a good girl gone bad girl kind of way. Fairytales with a definite alcoholic twist. Snow White is the lead protagonist, in which she finds herself a convicted felon serving time in a halfway house run by a gambling, hoarding granny. I loved the new versions of Snow White, Belle, Rapunzel, Cinderella and Aurora, as they portrayed stronger, fiercer and cleverer versions of their former selves. They were real and rugged, not the storybook goody-two-shoes.

I have no qualms or buts to say about this story. It was thoroughly entertaining and I personally recommend it to any fantasy, fairytale lovers out their looking for a curve ball. Looking for a giggle? Then you found the right book.

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Katrina’s Review:

I’m a sucker for a fairy tale twist, and I’d been eyeing this for some time when we decided to feature The Bitches of Ever After on the Quirky Book Sirens: At the Book Shelf edition. The focus of the novel follows Snow White and her fellow princesses, who have forgotten they were ever princesses to begin with and are now living in a halfway house. Instead, the lot of them are tough, cat-fighting, foul-mouthed girls who have been given a bad lot in life. They act not unlike someone might who had truly been through the tribulations these girls had been through might act in real life, as Sheilah pointed out during our show.

Though the story follows the girls, there are other characters from fairytales that also make appearances, some with more vital roles. Little Red Riding Hood’s role is quite different than anything I’ve experienced before. Meanwhile, the end of the book, while ending on something of a cliff hanger, sets it up for some other characters of lore to make waves in the sequel in new and different ways. Fortunately, I just found out the second book is now available!: The Bitches of Enchantment. The Bitches of Ever After is fun, light reading for anyone who enjoys unique fairy tale twists and mystery.

Check out the Quirky Book Sirens to hear us discuss The Bitches of Ever After with our guest Jayme Beddingfield, writer and host of the Too Many Words podcast.

Katrina’s Owl Rating: 
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Synopsis: From the author of the #1 bestselling book, OPAL FIRE, comes a brand new spellbinding trilogy inspired by the characters of fairy tales.

These are not the mild-mannered maidens of your childhood. These are fallen princesses and fierce women with no recollection of who they are, where they came from, or how they arrived in a mysterious town called Everafter. All they know is that they’ve been sentenced to a stretch in a half-way house by a malicious judge with an ax to grind. They’ve been stripped of their freedom, their kingdoms, and their true loves. Now, they have nothing left to lose.

Snow White is the newest parolee to arrive at Granny’s House for Girls. It isn’t long before she learns that her housemates harbor secrets, and that the mansion itself is a meandering enigma. She stumbles upon forbidden doorways, ghostly passages, and walls that seem to breathe. Determined to find out what’s really happening inside those old walls, Snow embarks on a dangerous discovery mission. Not everyone is thrilled about her nosing around. In fact, there are some who would kill to keep the secrets that the house-and its occupants-hold.

THE GIRL BEHIND THE BOOK:

2894399Barbra Annino is the author of the enchanting and popular Stacy Justice mystery series. Sin City Goddess is the first title in her exciting Secret Goddess series, and her newest fantasy trilogy is set in fairytale land. Originally from Chicago, she shares her home with her husband and their Great Danes, all of whom contribute to her books in unique ways.

 

CONNECT WITH BARBRA

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Website

Thanks Sinning – (Short Story) – Calvin Demmer

33053682Here lies another creepy tale, told by the voracious writer, Demmer. This was an original tale with a startling outcome. I can’t say I knew where this was going — I mean, I did, kind of — because Demmer doesn’t exactly write happy endings, but I was surprised at the ending all the same. Some of Demmer’s stories are stronger than others when it comes to originality. I would say this tale was one of his stronger creations I have read — so far.

It’s a short, gooey, unpredictable tale that will be sure to tickle the monster lover that lies inside you.

Check it out on Amazon in Kindle format for 99 cents.

 

Synopsis: DeShawn Williams wanted a break from the responsibilities of home. Thanksgiving Day presented him with the opportunity to do things differently. What started off as a day of fun and adventure, would soon take a strange turn.

 

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

Website

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

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Water & Storm Country (Country Saga #3) – David Estes

17609113I’ve slowly been making my way through this series, one book every so many months. The going is slow, not because I don’t love the series, but because I’m not really a series girl. I like standalone stories, or books that are connected, but can still stand on their own. That being said, I still read book series, I’m just more picky.

One aspect I appreciate greatly, is that while these are series stories and they are all connected by characters and overarching story-lines, they are independent. You could read one without the other and still enjoy the story. However, having read the previous two is highly recommended.

Estes is a writer I randomly stumbled upon. I believe he was a recommended Amazon author one random day. I started this saga three books ago and I am still going strong. His characters are well crafted with tons of personality. If you love a strong female protagonist, these are the books for you. Every one of the books has a central female character that kicks butt. He’s a good writer with a fascinating world, where climates are a part of the characterization. The third installment of this series was just as entertaining as the last and I keep chugging on.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $4.99 and in paperback for $12.99.

Synopsis: Huck Jones, the son of the admiral of the Soaker fleet, has a legacy to live up to. Haunted by the distorted memories of his mother’s untimely death, he must face his demons and the man who raised him as he strives to take the courageous step forward into manhood. When he’s transferred to the worst-performing ship in the fleet, everything he believes is called into question when he meets a lowly brown-skinned bilge rat girl. Huck walks a deadly rope…

Meanwhile, Sadie, destined to be a Rider in the Stormer army, seeks to avenge her brother’s death at the hands of the Soakers. Trained hard by her mother, an experienced Rider, Sadie knows strength and determination more than most. Her father, a Man of Wisdom, has shown his cowardice more times than she can count. As her world and family fall apart, she must cast aside her anger and focus on the wisdom she’s always brushed off as foolishness.

Amidst everything, a Plague ravages all, discriminating against no one.

When four worlds collide, lines will be drawn, sides will be chosen, victory will be sought. Death will be wrought. The mysteries of the Cure for the deadly Plague will be uncovered. Who will survive? And what will those who do learn about themselves and the ones they love?

 

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The Chemist – Stephenie Meyer

31176886I loved Twilight before it was mainstream, and then quickly began to hate it because I couldn’t get away from it. Now forever, the faces of Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson will be burned into my brain. Her standalone, The Host was just as excellent, but better because we weren’t drowned in it.

I didn’t realize Meyer was even working on another book, but while reading the paper the other day I saw her name come up. It was a good review of her newest tale and inspired me to pick this book up.

I wish I could glow about this story, but it had one major bump. I couldn’t get into the love story that existed between a couple of the main characters. This story would have appealed to my tastes, if it had revolved more around the action and less on the cuddling in the bed sheets. Meyer is a romance writer. No matter what genre she is writing in, there is always the heavy thread of love, but I feel she missed her mark with this one. The romance didn’t make my heart flutter, so I have a hard time believing it made the characters swoon.

If you take the intense, but deflated romance out of the way, the story is good. Unfortunately, the story revolves around the meh romance storyline. It was still easy and fast paced, and I was able to whip through the book pretty quickly, but I have to say this lacks any reread quality for me. Overall, the main characters had tons of potential and I liked the story concept, just wish things were arranged differently.

You can find the book on Amazon in Kindle format for $14.99 and in hardcover for $17.13.

Synopsis: She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.

Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.

When her former handler offers her a way out, she realises it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.

Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.

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Trick or Death – Short Story – Calvin Demmer

32792389Though it is past Halloween, those who love the horror genre won’t mind if I am a bit delayed in getting this out.

Demmer writes a short tale about an ego driven teen, who takes his pranks one step too far. It was well-written and easy to read. I read it before sleep consumed me the other night. I will admit, I was not sad to see the teenage boy meet his dark destiny. My only criticism is that the main characters reaction to pain/fear could have been more convincing. It was a bit lackluster.

However, like Demmer’s past work I feel that this story shows where Demmer is going as an author. I won’t be surprised when he completes his first full length novel. His various short stories feel like the grease to get his engines going. Demmer is a promising horror author, it will be interesting to watch what else he will create with his dark imagination.

If you are a fan of the gore, and like a bit of fright, then this short snack will hold you over until you grow ravenous again.

You can find the story on Amazon in Kindle for 99 cents.

Synopsis: Halloween was the perfect time for Barry Steiner to put his plan into action. The only problem was not everyone in the neighborhood wanted to play his victim.

 

 

THE MAN BEHIND THE STORY:

9815686Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

CONNECT WITH CALVIN

Goodreads

Website

 

 

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*I received a free copy of the story in exchange for an honest review.