Game Review: Stuffed Fables
Monday, February 15, 2021

  I bought this game for my daughter this past Christmas. As of writing this review, we've played it twice--once with three players, once with four--and everyone had a great time.  

  Basically, the players take on the roles of stuffed animals that belong to a little girl. The first night the girl sleeps in her new "big girl" bed, a horde of creepy mechanical minions come out of an eerie glow under the bed to steal her toys. The little girl's baby blanket is taken, and the player's stuffy characters are dragged into an adventure to get it back and return to their sleeping charge.

Review: Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Save the Cat! Writes a NovelSave the Cat! Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of the best books on the craft of writing I've ever read!

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel is not only filled with useful, insightful, and actionable analysis on the structure of successful stories, but it's easy to read, which is a huge plus for an informational book.
Even if you are a "pantser" and shudder at the thought of outlining, I recommend you read the beat sheet breakdown and genre explanations so that the information can percolate in your subconscious. I have no doubt that reading this book will make me a better writer.

Review: How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories
Friday, January 22, 2021

How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories (The Folk of the Air, #3.5)How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Black's writing is as beautiful and engaging as ever. However, as basically an explanation of Cardan's backstory, I didn't find very much plot in this novella. You need to have read the rest of the series to get the full impact of this book.

Having read the other books, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories gives some nice insight into Cardan's personality and fills in a few details that were pleasant, but not strictly necessary, to know. At only 173 pages with pictures to boot, it is an incredibly fast read, and well worth the diversion for any fan of the series.

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R.I.P. Zoe
Wednesday, January 13, 2021

I've had a difficult couple of weeks. My sweet kitty, Zoe, took a turn for the worse just before Christmas. She's been struggling with cancer for about two years, and after what should have been a routine treatment she suddenly stopped eating. The vet suggested I put her down, but I wanted to give her a chance to bounce back, as she had done in the past. She did seem to recover briefly, and for about a week we thought she was going to make it. Then she had a relapse. Rather than watch her waste away in pain, we made the choice to euthanize her. I don't regret the decision, but I do miss my kitty.

Review: A Glimmer of Ghosts
Thursday, January 7, 2021

A Glimmer of Ghosts (The Hell Gate Series)A Glimmer of Ghosts by Hunter J. Skye
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Part Ghostbusters, part Beauty and the Beast, A Glimmer of Ghosts is Hunter J. Skye's debut novel and promises to be the start of an impressive career. If you like ghost stories and paranormal romance, this book is for you.

The action starts off right away in a haunted graveyard, where main character Mel shows off her very unique talent. Mel suffers from narcolepsy, which causes her no end of trouble, but when in the stage between wake and sleep, she has the ability to see and sometimes interact with the spirits of the dead.

10 Best Moments of 2020
Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Looking back at 2020, there were a lot of difficult times, but it wasn't all bad. Here (in no particular order) are my top 10 favorite moments of the past year.
    1. Hitting the #1 bestseller spot on Amazon
    2. Winning the Imadjinn Award for Best Urban Fantasy Novel
    3. Winning the Eric Hoffer First Horizon and Sci-fi/Fantasy Book Awards
    4. Being able to breathe again when the Colorado wildfires were finally contained
    5. Camping with my family

A Fresh Start
Friday, January 1, 2021

Happy New Year, everyone!
In 2020, the world was rocked by the Covid pandemic, Colorado's forests were devastated by rampant wildfires, kids were in and out of school, jobs were lost or redefined, and families and friends were unable to get together, but we survived.

Review: Claws of the Cat
Sunday, December 27, 2020

Claws of the Cat (Shinobi Mystery, #1)Claws of the Cat by Susan Spann
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Claws of the Cat was a fun "who done it" mystery. This was very much the type of story where the protagonist, and by extension the reader, follows a trail of breadcrumb clues that lead back and forth between suspects in an intricately woven web of lies and secrets. I did not at any time feel like the solution was obvious, and while I sometimes got annoyed that the protagonist came to a realization that wasn't revealed until the next encounter, I never felt lost.

Review: Zombie Parade
Thursday, December 17, 2020

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade (Last Kids on Earth, #2)The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade by Max Brallier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second installment of Last Kids on Earth was all about disappearing zombies and the appearance of not-evil monsters. Jake and his friends get in way over their heads, but there's a very "united we stand" vibe that sees them through.

I liked the author's attempt to give Jake an internal conflict about keeping his friends safe, though it felt a bit stretched at times.

Overall, it was a very amusing read and my daughter is certainly eager to continue the series.

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