Book Review: The Nutcracker Curse!

My God, I SUCK at posting and keeping up with everyone’s posts! My main problem is this horrendous fatigue that doesn’t seem to improve with sleep/rest. Oh, and having to participate in other soul-sucking activities such as going to work, etc. Well, eventually I’ll be caught up on everything, so that’s all the bitching I’ll do. I can only do what I can do! 😉 Anyways…

Before finishing up The Ardere Series that I have been reading and reviewing, author Margo Ryerkerk wrote and released a fun little series called The Cursed Fairy Tale series! She wrote three books, each one based off of a fairy tale that she put her own twist on. Each book kind of tied into one another, which I thought was nice. Though I am not big on fairy tales and am for the most part largely unfamiliar with the stories/plots, I was willing to give them a try! I reviewed the first book in the trilogy, The Nutcracker Curse, back in December. Here’s the blurb for the book:

12 days.

4 realms.

Break the curse.

Or turn into a nutcracker.

Princess Clara thought she knew the main threat to her freedom.

She was wrong.

At seventeen years old, Clara isn’t ready to marry, and yet that’s what she must do as the crown princess of Austria.

However, getting to know the foreign princes visiting her kingdom becomes the least of Clara’s worries when she picks up a bespelled nutcracker and unleashes a deadly curse. She has twelve days to find and feed the nutcracker the magical nut Crackatook. If she fails, her soul will be trapped inside the toy for all eternity and her body will turn to wood.

Instead of relying on her suitors or the king’s men to find the cure, Clara saddles her unicorn and sneaks out of the palace. Her childhood friend Philip notices her leaving and makes her choose between returning to the castle or allowing him to come along.

Reluctantly, Clara agrees to him joining her, and soon, they are off to lands filled with mythical creatures.

Will they survive all trials and find the Crackatook in time? Or will Clara’s soul become trapped in the nutcracker and her body turn to wood?

Filled with adventure, love, magic, and a strong heroine, this clean YA Fairy Tale is the perfect festive read!

The Nutcracker Curse is the first book in the Cursed Fairy Tales series. Each book can be read as a standalone. However, for greatest enjoyment, the novels should be read in order.

If you like K.M Shea, Melanie Cellier, and Kiera Cass, you’ll love this!

And the gorgeous cover:

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Here’s what I wrote about the book on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Let me preface this review by saying this: I am not really a fan of fairy tales. I don’t even know anything about the Nutcracker fairy tale that this book is based off of. Despite this, I wanted to read this book because I am a huge fan of Margo Ryerkerk’s other books! 🙂

This book switches between the points of view of two characters, Griselda and Clara. They are stepsisters who have been separated from each other for 10 years because Griselda has been imprisoned. Naturally, Griselda can’t stand Clara and wants to seek revenge on her, so she decides to release the Nutcracker Curse on Clara.

Meanwhile, Clara is a princess, and she’s not exactly thrilled with being one. She is restless and wants to do her own thing, but her father wants her to get married and become prepared to be a ruler someday.

When the curse is released on Clara, she is told she has 12 days to break the curse. If she fails, her body will turn into a wooden figurine, and her soul will become trapped inside the nutcracker forever. Doesn’t sound like fun, does it?! Anyway, the only way to break the curse is to find a magical nut called the Crackatook and feed it to the nutcracker. Instead of sitting idly by, Princess Clara decides to take her life into her own hands and find the Crackatook herself.

She goes through a lot of trouble to do so! I won’t give any spoilers away, but she encounters many trials to get to the Mouse King, who is guarding the Crackatook in the Inverse Kingdom. The Mouse King is… terrible, to say the least.

I really did enjoy this book, despite being unfamiliar with the original tale. The book ended in such a way that there is an opening for a sequel, so I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I rated The Nutcracker Curse 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Mr. Ugly!

Back in November, I received a message from a cool dude on Goodreads named Wol-vriey. He asked if I wanted to review one of his newest books, Mr. Ugly! I’m always willing to help authors out, so I agreed! The synopsis for Mr. Ugly is as follows:

SHE RETURNED FROM HER CELL TO GIVE THEM HELL!

When a rotting corpse suddenly appears and starts butchering Raynham’s youths, there’s really only one question that needs answering:

Is this faceless and rotting monster Peter Howard, or isn’t it?

Problem is, Peter Howard died 15 years ago. So how can he possibly be back from the dead and murdering people with such relentless and sadistic brutality?

Peter’s mother Malicia, who’s just been released from the lunatic asylum, may have the answers to the crazy puzzle, but the two detectives investigating the deaths don’t even know the right questions to ask her yet.

Mr. Ugly: It really doesn’t matter if you lock your doors; you simply aren’t safe anymore.

And here’s the cover:

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Ain’t he cute? 😉 This seemed like just the type of book I’d be interested in, so I couldn’t wait to read it! Here’s what I wrote about it on Goodreads:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Based on the cover of this book, I figured Mr. Ugly was some type of zombie… but he was so much more than that! I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but I’ll try to hit some of the main points of the book.

The first character we meet is Malicia, who was recently released from a psychiatric institution. She definitely is not crazy though…. no, she is powerful, cunning, and very vindictive. Malicia is hellbent on making the people in the town of Raynham pay for their sins. Upon returning home from the institution, she unleashes something very powerful and very deadly.

Gruesome killings begin in the town (and I do mean GRUESOME!). The killings are done by a zombie-like creature dubbed Mr. Ugly because he is so fucked up looking, he barely resembles a man. Soon, it is revealed that Mr. Ugly is actually Malicia’s dead son Peter, resurrected to wreak havoc.

I admit, when it was revealed how Peter died and why Malicia is so upset, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her character. It’s amazing how far she goes off the deep end! I became really invested in the story and I’ll admit, I was kind of bummed when it was all over!

This book had several moments that made me laugh despite its brutality. Wol-vriey has a way of providing vivid descriptors that really place you into the story. Maybe I’m a little bit twisted, but one of my favorite lines in the whole book is “Like a punted football, a man’s severed head was rolling toward them from the main entrance.”

This was a brutal, gory novel that was so much fun to read! Wol-vriey does not hold back from describing even the most awful scenario. He definitely has a talent for the macabre. Great book!!

As you can see, I loved this book. It was unique, grotesque, and had some really fucked up moments in it. I gave Mr. Ugly 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

End Game Thoughts: PAC-MAN!

Game Title: PAC-MAN
Platform: NES Classic
Hours Played: maybe 15-20 minutes

About The Game

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PAC-MAN was originally released in the arcades in 1980. It has been ported a billion times to many consoles, and I’ve played a few different versions of it! The version I played for this little mini review thing was on the NES Classic, which was released in 2016.

What I Liked

To me, PAC-MAN is one of those games that’s fun to play in short bursts when you have a few minutes to spare. The whole point of the game is to see how long you can last in the maze and possibly beat your high score, so it’s fun without being stressful. Well, the ghosts chasing you constantly can be a bit stressful, but you get what I’m saying. I just like to pick this game up every now and then and spend a few minutes seeing how long I can play before I die!

What I Didn’t Like

The ghosts don’t leave you alone for one damn second! Can’t I just gobble up my little yellow dots and pieces of fruit in peace?!

Closing Thoughts

I called it quits when I got a game over. I beat my high score, which now sits at 9490. That is probably a shitty score, but I’m not very good at this game, so I don’t care! I died really stupidly too- right as I was eating one of the ghosts, it stopped flashing and turned back to a normal ghost, then killed me. Such is life.

End Game Thoughts: Galaga!

Game Title: Galaga
Platform: NES Classic
Hours Played: probably 30 minutes or so

About The Game

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Galaga is a sweet little arcade game originally released in 1981. I’ve played it on a few different platforms, but for this particular End Game Thoughts post, I played it on the NES Classic, which was released in 2016.

Galaga almost reminds me of Space Invaders, because you are shooting all kinds of baddies that want to kick your ass!

What I Liked

This is a really fun game. I like to fire it up every now and then just to see how far I can get. Turns out, not very far! I kind of suck at it, but I like it anyway. It’s a fun way to spend a few minutes here and there! I like the different ways the enemies act- keeps you on your toes!

What I Didn’t Like

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Hmm… can’t really think of anything I don’t like! Aside from the fact that I suck, but that’s not the game’s fault… it’s mine!

Closing Thoughts

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This game is fun and fast-paced, and my slow reflexes don’t do me any favors. It doesn’t make me mad though… I just try to get farther each time I play! On this particular play through, I made it to level 4 and beat my high score. Maybe next time I’ll make it to level 5, haha!

End Game Thoughts: Dr. Mario!

Game Title: Dr. Mario
Platform: NES Classic
Hours Played: pssh… try like 20 minutes

About The Game

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Dr. Mario was originally released in 1990 for the Nintendo Entertainment System. I played it on the NES Classic, which was released in 2016.

What is Dr. Mario about? Fuck if I know. I hate this game. He throws different colored pills at shitty little viruses to make them go bye bye. It was fun for about 5 seconds.

What I Liked

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Mario is there. Mario is cool.

What I Didn’t Like

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THIS GAME. FUCK. I like puzzle games a lot, I really do. I thought I liked this game. It just really started to get on my last nerve because it just isn’t FUN to me. I made it to Level 7 before I got a game over. I beat my high score, so I consider the game “beaten” even though I know I will NEVER EVER go back and try to clear more levels.

Oh, and the fucking awful music will invade my brain until the end of time.

Closing Thoughts

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No.

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I realize I’m probably in the minority because most people seem to really like this game, but it just didn’t click me for some reason! And I tend to stay away from things that piss me off, and this game pisses me off so… *shrugs*. Don’t take my really awful mini review as the last word though- try this game out for yourself and see if you like it! 🙂

Creative Pin Board!

Every once and awhile, I like to do creative stuff. Problem is, I kind of suck when it comes to artsy fartsy things! My creativity lies more in my words, and even that’s a bit of a stretch sometimes. Sure, I have a degree in Computer Graphics and Design, but I consider myself retired from that field. Anyhow, I saw a YouTube video from Cinnamoniboni. She posts all sorts of fun videos, many of them gaming related! In one video, she painted a corkboard to put all of her little pins on them, and I thought it was such a cute idea! The video is below if you want to check it out.

Now, I don’t have a ton of pins or anything like that, but I have a few that I’ve been wanting to put somewhere- I just never knew how to display them. After watching the video, I thought I would try it out, since it didn’t seem overly complicated!

I started with a standard corkboard that you can find at just about any office supply store. I got mine at Office Max. I forgot to get a picture of it in its unpainted state, but here’s what the wrapper looks like, in case anyone actually gives a shit:

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I decided to paint the whole board black. I wanted a dark background with little dots of color! Hey, I said I wasn’t artsy. I can only do simple things!

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Originally, I was just going to have yellow dots of color…

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But then I decided some silver would look nice…

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And some blue…

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And finally, some red! Looks like a party!!

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After giving the board time to dry, I added a few of my favorite pins to display. I have some Mario pins, Harvest Moon pins, and a Kirby pin too! My favorite pin on the board is the Pokémon Mimikyu, the little pin near the center of the board. I do have other pins, but I didn’t want to clutter up the board too much, so I may just rotate the ones I choose to display.

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This was a fun project, and it wasn’t that difficult to do. If it was, I would’ve tossed it and pretended it didn’t happen haha! I like doing creative things like this, so maybe in the future I’ll have more to show! 😉

End Game Thoughts: Kirby Star Allies!

Game Title: Kirby Star Allies
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Hours Played: approximately 12

About The Game

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Kirby Star Allies was released in 2018 for the Nintendo Switch. As you all probably know by now, I love Kirby, so of course I couldn’t wait to play this game!

Some weird shit is going down up in space, and Kirby needs some friends to help him set things right! (A+ for that amazing description of the story line!). In addition to inhaling everything in his path and stealing copying his enemy’s abilities, Kirby can also have up to 3 friends with him that can help defeat enemies, solve puzzles, etc.

What I Liked

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There is so much to love about this game! First of all, it’s ADORABLE! I love the character designs and the level designs. The music is pretty good too, though at this point and time I can’t tell you any tunes that are really standing out to me. Maybe I shouldn’t be writing this when I have a headache and I’m super tired… anyway!

I love how besides all the helpers/copy abilities, there are also Dream Friends in this game. You can play alongside King Dedede, Meta Knight, Rick/Kine/Coo, and a bunch of other bad asses from past games. My favorite is… um, Gooey.

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I give the developers credit for putting so much content into this game as well! Aside from the main story mode, there are 2 sub-games to play (Chop Champs and Star Slam Heroes) which provide a fun, if brief distraction from the main game. There’s also The Ultimate Choice, which is basically like a boss rush mode. There’s Guest Star ???? Star Allies Go! mode, which I love! You basically play through an abbreviated version of the Story Mode, but you can play as any of the helpers or Dream Friends instead of Kirby, which gives you a lot of replay value!

The last mode was actually released as FREE (yes, free) DLC, and it’s called Heroes in Another Dimension. This is the only mode I haven’t fully played through, but it’s pretty enjoyable.

Seriously, there is a lot to do in this game. I think my file is sitting at 87% complete right now, and I love the fact that I’ve played through most of the modes several times and still have plenty left to do!

What I Didn’t Like

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The fact that the final boss in the story mode had like 5 different phases and wouldn’t fucking die already! He was cool though, so I can’t complain much. All kidding aside, I don’t really have any complaints about this game.

Closing Thoughts

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This game brought me a lot of happiness during my play through! It was like the best elements of all the past Kirby games were thrown into this one. I also really want to mention that it seems like a lot of love was put into Kirby Star Allies. From the characters to the music to the menu design to the varied levels, it’s apparent that the developers put a lot of care and effort into what they were doing. That’s something I really appreciate!