Costume Quest

Costume Quest

Summary

Costume Quest: Trick-or-treating
Trick-or-treating

It’s Halloween and you are trick-or-treating when a monster shows up and kidnaps your twin. Go around the neighborhood collecting candy and costumes, making friends, and battling monsters to try to get your sibling back.

Review

Costume Quest is cute and great at adapting the theme of Halloween to an adventure game. The story and dialogue are funny… however, the gameplay gets boring and repetitive quickly. The combat system is incredibly simplistic. Each costume has a basic attack and a special attack you can use every three turns.

It’s nice to have a game kids and adults alike can play on Halloween, but don’t expect much from it.

Costume Quest: Battle system

You might like this game if you like…

  • Halloween
  • Turn-based RPG battles
  • Costumes and candy
  • Fighting monsters

Want to play?

$0.99 on Steam (on sale 90% off) | $4.99 on iOS | $14.99 on PS3 and Xbox 360

The Girl in the Spider’s Web

The Girl in the Spider's WebThe Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (2015)

Summary

Hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist are back in this continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series.

Review

I was position #1 on the library waitlist for Spider’s Web, so I got it the day it was released. I took it with me on a camping trip in Oregon and stayed up at night, reading by the light of a lantern.

I thought the book was just… okay. It didn’t have the same excitement and energy as the original trilogy. Lisbeth and Mikael felt a little off and there were too many forgettable new characters. I also thought the ending was strange and unsatisfying. Overall, I still thought the book was okay, but I don’t think I’d recommend it.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, et al.)
  • Hacking
  • Autism and savants
  • Mysteries and thrillers
  • Sweden

Longbourn

Longbourn by Jo Baker (2013)

Longbourn

Summary

Longbourn is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice from the perspective of the servants.

Review

Although I’ve never fully read Pride and Prejudice, I can quote many of the lines by heart from watching the 1995 miniseries (with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth) more times than I can count.

Longbourn doesn’t really provide any new insights into P&P, though it does add some backstory. It is more of a standalone novel taking place in the same setting as P&P. At the same time, I wouldn’t really recommend it unless you’re already familiar with P&P.

A Downton Abbey and P&P mashup seemed like a brilliant idea, but Longbourn didn’t accomplish that. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t love the story.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Shoe roses
  • British historical romances
  • Washing soiled petticoats
  • Downton Abbey
  • Retellings of classic stories

Mini Metro

Mini Metro

Summary

Mini Metro is a strategy simulation game about designing a subway map for a growing city. Draw lines between stations and start your trains running.

It was first created during Ludum Dare 26, a game development competition in which you only have a couple days to create a game that fits the given theme. The developers liked their prototype and decided to develop it further.

Mini Metro map

Review

I love Mini Metro. It’s a brilliant game idea that is executed well. It is fun to play, the achievements are challenging, and it’s quickly becoming one of my favorite Steam games.

It’s currently available as an Early Access game and will be released soon. Hopefully they’ll add a Seattle map. <3

Mini Metro map selectorMini Metro choose asset

You might like this game if you like…

  • Mass transit
  • Minimalism
  • Efficiency & optimization
  • Making decisions based on limited resources

Want to play?

$9.99 on Steam (Early Access)

Go Set a Watchman

Go Set a WatchmanGo Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (2015)

Summary

Two decades after To Kill a Mockingbird, Jean Louise “Scout” Finch returns home to visit her father, Atticus Finch. It is a bittersweet trip that painfully challenges Scout’s values and her opinions of the people close to her.

Review

Go Set a Watchman was an early draft of To Kill a Mockingbird, but it was recently rediscovered and controversially published this year.

The writing felt messy and sluggish, but that isn’t surprising since it’s a rejected and unedited manuscript. The book particularly dragged in the second half, where the conversations were too long and unrefined (not to mention sickeningly racist).

The thing that upset readers most about Watchman was the characterization of Atticus Finch. America’s beloved ethical hero from Mockingbird is a racist in Watchman. Some people think Atticus must have always been racist and search for signs of it in Mockingbird; others think he may have transformed as he got older. I don’t think either is true, because I don’t think it’s the same character. Watchman was written before Mockingbird Atticus existed. Watchman was an early draft and the character evolved into something different before the final version, Mockingbird, was published. Regardless, one of the themes of Watchman is that if you idolize someone, you set yourself up to to be disappointed. There’s something to be learned from that.

I don’t think Watchman should have been published and reading it makes me appreciate Harper Lee’s editors who helped her transform her ideas into Mockingbird.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Racism
  • Life-altering realizations
  • The American South
  • Racists defending racist beliefs

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a MockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960)

Summary

Scout Finch is a young girl growing up in the segregated south in the 1930s. Her father, Atticus Finch, is an attorney who takes a case to prove the innocence of a black man accused of rape.

Review

To Kill a Mockingbird is an American classic and I reread it in preparation for Go Set a Watchman‘s release.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Classics
  • Racism
  • Injustice
  • Coming of age stories
  • The American South in the 1930s

The Girl Who Fell to Earth

The Girl Who Fell to EarthThe Girl Who Fell to Earth by Sophia Al-Maria (2012)

Summary

Sophia Al-Maria’s mother is a white woman from Washington and her father is a Bedouin from Qatar. As she grows up, Sophia is caught between these two cultures and families – not fully fitting into either – as she tries to figure out her identity.

Review

I got this book because it was on sale, I liked the cover, and it was partially set in Washington. 😛

The concept of the book was interesting and I liked it, but I really wish there had been more depth. I wanted to read more about things like how Sophia’s father got by on his own when he traveled to America and what it was like to experience 9/11 in the Middle East, but these were just glossed over. Characters other than Sophia also felt superficial.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Memoirs
  • Coming of age stories
  • The Bedouin
  • Arab vs. American culture
  • Teenage angst

Monster Loves You!

Monster Loves You!

Summary

Play as a monster in this interactive story. The decisions you make affect your personality, as well as the relations between monsters and humans.

Review

Monster Loves You! is cute, but better suited for kids than adults. There isn’t any challenge and the game is pretty short (although you can play through it again to go for different endings).

Monster Loves You!

You might like this game if you like…

  • Role-playing as a monster
  • Biting things
  • Making decisions
  • Cute cartoon art
  • Interactive stories
  • Collecting human artifacts

Want to play?

I played the game on Steam, but it’s also available on mobile.

$9.99 on Steam | $0.99 on Android & iOS | Pay what you want in Humble PC & Android Bundle 13

Yes Please

Yes PleaseYes Please by Amy Poehler (2014)

Summary

Comedian and actress Amy Poehler shares personal stories in this memoir.

Review

This isn’t the type of book I’d normally read, but I needed a memoir for the Seattle Public Library Summer Book Bingo and an audiobook for the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge, so I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone. Amy Poehler narrates the audiobook herself with the assistance of some famous special guests.

Yes Please was funny, honest, and enjoyable, but it’s not going to stick with me.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Amy Poehler (duh)
  • Celebrity memoirs
  • Humor
  • Saturday Night Live
  • Behind-the-scenes of acting
  • Parks and Recreation

My Story: A Personal Testament

My StoryMy Story: A Personal Testament by Michael Haas (2015)

Summary

Dr. Michael Haas tells the story of his life, growing up as an ethnic German in a small country village in what is now Serbia, enduring life in Europe during and after World War II, and ultimately moving to America and becoming a doctor.

Review

This is an autobiography that a relative of mine wrote and self-published for his family, so I’m going to leave out a review. It’s pretty cool to read the life story of someone you know.

You might like this book if you are interested in…

  • Autobiographies
  • Europe during World War II
  • Danube Swabians
  • Overcoming hardships
  • Immigration to America
  • The life stories of my relatives