Nice Try, Afton by Brent Jones

With all the time I spent on watching movies/anime, one would almost forget that I also love to read. I just spent way too little time on it, and that is totally on me. But luckily I follow a lot of book bloggers that always seem eager to add new and interesting books to my never ending to read list. Now, this series has me incredibly intrigued. I have pretty much moved it over to the number one spot on my list of books I want to read, so I thought I would share a review for one of it’s installments by the amazing Nicole. It’s called the Afton Morrison series written by author Brent Jones. After having read the premise for this series (and the truly bad ass sounding main character) I’m pretty sure that you will be just as intrigued as I am. So, go ahead and check out this series, as I will be doing in the coming weeks. And I’m sure that the author will definitely appreciate it as well!

The BookWorm Drinketh

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5 out of 5 Stars

If you missed my reviews of book one (Go Home, Afton) and two (See you Soon, Afton) of the series, go check them out!!

Synopsis

Is evil a matter of choice, or are we born that way?

After a string of brazen arsons overwhelms Wakefield’s first responders, the town is placed on lockdown, rendering Afton and her companions vulnerable to attack.

In a last-ditch effort to protect her inner circle, Afton attempts to establish an improbable truce with her archnemesis, leading her into a deadly trap more than a decade in the making. Survival will mean choosing to embrace her dark side, once and for all.

Nice Try, Afton is the third of four parts in a new serial thriller by author Brent Jones. Packed with grit and action, The Afton Morrison Series delves into a world of moral ambiguity, delivering…

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Bleach, Japanese movie (2018)

There are times when I feel like I am a total noob when it comes to anime. Yes, I know that I need to give myself some credit and say that I still seem to watch it enough, and am maybe not a complete and utterly ignorant person when it comes to this medium. But, nonetheless there are still a lot of fan favorite shows that I have only heard of by name, but have never seen. I do like a challenge and still try to catch up with some shows. I have to say though, that nothing is more daunting than having some animes now have over 300 episodes (and some even reaching more staggering amounts). As much as I would love to watch some of those, I know that realistically I simply don’t have the time to see those kind of numbers. Bleach is one of those animes. Having done some research this series has now 366 episodes. I could finish this one maybe if I would watch one episode a day. But I know that I am deluding myself, and will simply admit defeat. Recently Netflix has released a live action movie for it that came recommended to me by Karandi.

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Why….so….serious!

Well, I assume a lot of you are probably already thinking that you will move on, and pass  on this one. I would not even blame you. When it comes to live action adaptations I often find myself wondering what the point of these are. The people that love anime, love exactly that: anime! So why turn an animation into a live action version? Probably to hopefully reach a bigger audience, and maybe get people interested in it more. But often they are just cash grabs, and are dowright mediocre, or even worse: total crap. However there are always exceptions to the rule, and Bleach seems to be one of them at least. Now, as I knew literally next to nothing about the anime (only the name and that a lot of people seem to think very highly of it), I also had the unique position that I had nothing to compare it too. Which also meant that I had no expectations for it. So if you are looking for a review that describes how well (or how badly) it holds up to the original anime, you are better off reading Karandi’s excellent post for it. I really enjoyed reading that one, and it also gave me a little insight in the anime. So what will I be doing here than in this post? Well, I’m just going to give you a review as if this were any other movie. I know, boring right? Hey, I never said that I wasn’t predictable.

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Pointing your sword that way is just asking for trouble these days….

Remember the phrase “ I see dead people” from the amazing film The Sixth Sense? No? Ugh, shame on you. Well anyways, Ichigo Kurosaki can see them too. Who is this guy you ask? Erm, okay I guess I am kind of jumping into this a little bit too fast. Ichigo Kurosaki is  a teenager and the hero of this movie. Now with that explanation given, lets move on. One day his ability to see ghosts, lets him meet up with Rukia Kuchiki. And she is not just a simple ghost, but has the badass job description of being a Soul Reaper. Now this means she has a mission to guide the souls of dead people to a place called the Soul Society. While this might not sound too bad, there is also a darker side to her mission. And that comes in the form of Hollows, absolutely horrific looking lost souls, that can both harm ghosts and the living. While in the middle of a fight with one of them, trying to defend Ichigo and his young sister, Rukia gets hurt pretty badly. She makes a decision to transfer her powers to Ichigo. But these new powers might just be more than the young man can handle. Not only does he have a fight on his hands with a monstrous Hollow called the Grand Fisher, but there also two Soul Reapers that have it in for him. And they don’t seem all that pleased that he now has Rukia’s powers…..

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Some people just have a big mouth!

Bleach is an action packed, sometimes funny, sometimes scary movie, that certainly was worth the watch. Not everything in this movie worked, but overall this movie definitely entertained. Let’s start with the cast first. The main hero is played by actor Sota Fukushi. He does a pretty adequate job in portraying a bit of a cynical teenager who while at times seems to be in way over his head, still manages to hold his own in the new situation he finds himself in. I do say adequate because quite honestly I didn’t think his acting abilities were too good. In the many action sequences the film contains however, he does come across as very convincing. I liked the character of Rukia more though. Played by actress Hana Sugisaki, she played a role that was quite endearing. The young Soul Reaper was one of those characters that tries to be tough, but really has a heart of gold. It was nice to see her try to avoid becoming a friend to Ichigo, but of course in the end failing to do so. The rest of the cast had far less screentime and as such was harder to form an attachment too. The two other Soul Reapers that had a score to settle with Ichigo I found to be overacting at times, but maybe that was the way their characters were supposed to be like.

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Seriously dude, you need to do something with that hair of yours. 

So how about the special effects then? I have to say that they were very convincing and quite good. I really loved the designs of the Hollows, and as far as monster designs go they were pretty horrific. Action wise, the film has some seriously cool swordfights, and ofcourse Ichigo trying to defeat the monstrous lost souls. All of these scenes looked top notch, and were quite enjoyable. The end fight sequence though was a little bit disappointing. It went pretty overboard and it even became laughable which is something I don’t think was what they intended it to be. Overall though, Bleach is quite the entertaining film. It contains some quirky but fun characters, a nice storyline and great action. Not knowing anything about the anime, I do find myself beginning to realise why this one has become such a fan favorite. Maybe I should set aside some time to go ahead and watch it anyway. It is after all only 366 episodes long. Yeah…right….like that will ever happen. Oh well, wishful thinking I guess.

I give Bleach a 7 out of 10 score.

Violet Evergarden, Anime tv Series (2018)

Love is beautiful. It can give you wings, and make you feel like you can take on the entire world by yourself. It’s one of the most powerful emotions we have access too, and when that sting of cupid’s arrow has found you, you might just be the luckiest man or woman alive. But love can also be a cruel mistress. It can hurt….an awful lot. You might at times feel as if your heart is literally ripped out from your chest whenever the one you loved leaves you. Because either the love has died, or even worse when that person has left the world of the living behind, never to return. It is at times like that you probably wish you would have a switch that can turn off your emotions just like that. But if only life were that easy. There are days when I can feel very melancholy. Because love has not yet entered my life, and because there are days that I feel it never will. Even though those days are hard, I try to not give up hope. And sometimes, just sometimes there is something that can give you a new boost of hope. I have always said that one of the highest achievements any kind of medium can achieve, is fill you with emotions. Violet Evergarden is an anime series that does just that, and than some….

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No this is not a remake of Mary Poppins.

Violet Evergarden is a breathtaking anime series that tells the tale of the “ Auto Memory Doll” with the same name. Violet used to be a soldier and was left behind on the battlefield badly injured whilst protecting her commanding officer Major Gilbert Bougainvillea. This resulted in the loss of both her arms. She did surive the ordeal, and her arms got replaced by metal prosthesis. After the war, Violet has a hard time trying to adjust to life. One day an old friend of Major Gilbert visits her and decides to show her the business he owns, the CH postal office. In that place Auto Memory Dolls write letters for people who have a hard time finding the correct words to say, and putting them to paper. Violet gets hired to work there, but at first it’s very hard to find her place. Especially since she has been trying to make sense of the very last words Major Gilbert told her: “ I love you” . As Violet has no real way of understanding emotions, it becomes increasingly more difficult for her to cope with all the feelings that are inside her. But as time progresses, and she encounters more and more people with feelings that rival her own, Violet begins to live again. But dark clouds of war seem to loom on the horizon, and the safe world that she has created around her, might just burst into flames again…..

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I did say that this anime looks breathtaking did I not?

Where do I start reviewing an anime that has left me literally in tears for quite a number of times during it’s run. I’m not even joking here. I cried, because the emotions in this series were so very, very real. An anime like this doesn’t come around very often. I have seen and read numerous reviews for this one, and those have been very mixed indeed. Some people loved it, some people hated it. As for me? I thought this was a masterpiece. Right from the very first opening scene this anime captured my heart, and did not let go of it until the very last episode. I must first mention the absolutely astounding level of detail that went into this anime. The wordbuilding, the characters, the amazing music, everything just looks and sounds top notch. It is a world that is utterly believable and that just makes you invested in this even more. The high quality level of animation that is presented here at numerous times takes your breath away. Beautifully drawn landscapes, cities, sunsets, it all looks absolutely amazing.

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Sometimes you just want to hit someone on the head.

But it’s the story that makes this anime so very worthwhile. I have heard people mention them really disliking the character of Violet. Because of her at times static responses and the way she repeats things like saying she wants to understand love. But one must not forget that she is not really human. She is a doll. And because of that her responses initially are static. But the farther the series progresses, the more I fell in love with this character. Her struggle with trying to become human, and trying to grasp the feeling of love that was in her all along but which she just didn’t know, was simply fascinating to watch. In one of the later episodes she has to write letters for a dying mother, who has a a very young daughter. It was during that episode that I really broke down at the end. I had to pause because the emotions on display during those 24 minutes were almost too much. And it was in that episode that I think Violet grew into an even more humane character than she already was.

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You always need to keep smiling, even if that means pulling your face off.

Violet Evergarden starts off quite slow. It takes a while for it to really get going, which is why it requires a little bit of patience as well. But the payoff is incredible, and I for one had no problem with the initial slower episodes. Despite the fact that this is a series that is at it’s heart a romance story, there are also episodes that focus on the war. Both the impending one, and the one in the past. Actionwise, this sometimes results in some cool fight sequences, but beware as this certainly is not an action series. While the main story is of course about Violet herself, there were also quite a number of very interesting supporting characters. It would go to far to name all of them, but suffice it to say that at her place of work there certainly are a number of coworkers who you will grow very fond of too. After 13 episodes I felt sad to be leaving this world behind. I was delighted to see however that a new project is in the works, and one can only hope that it will arrive very soon.

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And some of the other dolls…erm..litterally, not trying to offend here.

So in case it wasn’t clear yet, I absolutely loved this anime. It was a beautiful and very fascinating journey to behold, although I certainly would recommend to keep a few boxes of tissues close by. It gives us a good and often important lesson about emotions, especially one of the most powerful ones: Love. Where Violet struggles to grasp the meaning of the word altogether we often struggle to keep a hold of it. For we often fear the pain of loss, or heartbreak. But I would say after having seen this, never fear that feeling. For our lives are fleeting and might be over before you know it. If love does cross your path grasp it with both hands, and try to keep a hold of this as best you can, never letting go. And even if you might not always be able to exactly say what you might feel, this anime has a solution for that as well. Put your words in a letter, as that can be just as powerful as saying the words out loud. And I am sure that Violet would be willing to give you a helping hand with that…

I give Violet Evergarden a 10 out of 10 score.

Plans……😢

Helly everyone! It seems that lately every time I make plans for my blog, real life seems determined to throw a wrench in them. It’s beginning to really annoy me. I (or White Blood Cell so to speak) have been trying to get rid of my flu bug for almost a week now. It’s a nasty one, because every time I have the idea that I am feeling better, it apparently feels the need to mutate into something new. Today is such a day again as I woke up feeling like the cold just started. But there is a silver lining too. My vacation has now officially started, and I can take the time to, well do pretty much anything I want. No work stress for at least three weeks, and I will hopefully do a lot of blogging too. Starting tomorrow, I want to spent some time catching up with your blogs. Probably won’t be able to read all the posts I have missed, but I do want to try and read as much as I can. If there is any post in particular that you want me to check out, let me know in the comments section below.

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All the Violet Evergarden post needs, is a click on the Publish button. 

Tomorrow you can also expect my first real anime post for quite a while, and it’s one for a series that has taken a very special place in my heart: Violet Evergarden. Won’t go into any details yet, but it’s one of the special ones for sure. Hopefully with some more rest today, I can get back into full swing the next couple of days, as I really have some exciting things to write about. And as you know, anime is going to be featuring heavily this upcoming month as it’s something I have been neglecting a bit these past few weeks. Again my apologies. It seems that lately I’m turning into a bit of a whiner, with posts like these coming out, instead of writing about the things that I really want to write about. But I also want to give a heartfelt thank you to all of you readers, for being so amazing and giving so much support to me. It really means a lot. So be patient with me for just a little while more, I assure that I will be back stalking spamming your comments sections soon enough, as well as overloading the reader. Everyone have a great weekend!

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No running away just yet White Blood Cell, you still have work to do! 

 

Cells at Work……In me!

Hello everyone!

This just going to be a very short post letting everyone know that my body has once again been invaded by a nasty flu germ, and I’m pretty much feeling like crap. (Sorry for the foul language). I can only hope that White Blood Cell is up to the task of defeating it. I’m sorry for not being able to currently read posts and reply to your comments. I hope to be back as soon as I can. My apologies….

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White Blood Cell is hard at work…..I hope 😢

Peppermint, American Movie (2018)

There is something extremely appealing to a strong female lead role in a film. Especially when that woman is also an action heroine. And before you all fall over me, I don’t mean that in a sexist way at all. I have always believed that women can pretty much do anything a man can do, and sometimes they do it even better. For the people that have been following my blog for a while now, you know that I have a particular love for revenge movies. It was only a short while ago that I reviewed the Korean revenge movie The Villainess which coincidentally also featured a lady that could seriously kick some  booty. So why are women in such roles so appealing? I don’t exactly have an answer to that question. But I do know it is great to see a woman pretty much beat the living daylights out of men that are so evil that they don’t even deserve to be alive in this world. This month we see Jennifer Garner finally make a very welcome return to the action genre. Looking back to quite a few years ago, some people might remember her playing the feisty agent Sydney Bristow in the hitseries Alias. In Peppermint though she seems to pay homage to that character, only this time she plays the completely psychotic and lethal version of it.

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Sometimes people seek a tougher challenge then decorating Christmas trees.

Riley North is a woman who struggles to make ends meet. She and her husband Chris have a lovely daughter and live a good life, but they do seem to have trouble keeping their heads above water financially. Chris almost went off to do something stupid and illegal but changed his mind at the last second. One night on their daughter’s birthday they head off as a family to the local carnival. They have the time of their lives, but that changes in the blink of an eye when a drive by shooting by local drug cartel members results in something absolutely horrible. Riley survives the incident and has the chance to appear in court, as she alone has managed to step up and identify the suspects. But a sleezeball lawyer and corrupt judge manage to turn the tables, and as a result the perpetrators get set free. But then something snaps in Riley. The once quiet and loving mother is determined to bring a justice of her own to the cartel and woe to anyone who will stand in her way. They say hell hath no fury to a woman scorned, and Riley North has become the living embodiment of that saying….

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Open wide!! Oh wait…it seems that you can’t!

Well, if this sounds like a story you might have seen and heard of a countless number of times in movies, you would be right. Yes this is a straight up good old fashioned revenge movie, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else. What we have here is one of those films, that will probably leave your mind by the end of the week, but is still solidly entertaining and worth making a trip to the movie theatre for. One of the reasons for this  is most certainly Jennifer Garner. She is amazing as the grieving mother with a heart, and brings a cold determination to her character as she continues with her mission of vengeance. And what a mission it is. She is a one man erm woman army as she shoots, stabs and kicks all sorts of low life trash to the afterlife. It almost felt at times that I was  looking at an old 80’s Stallone or Schwarzenegger movie, but without the over the top and unrealistic action. (Althought I love those movies in case you were wondering). Garner is totally believable in this role, and it was nice to finally see her step out of her pretty mundane roles of late, and go into full on action mode again.

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Lasergaming still seems to be popular in some circles. 

Storywise this just isn’t an original tale, although there was a twist during the later half of the film that I did not see coming. And it’s always nice to see something like that happening. But in a movie like this it’s the action that counts, and in that way this film doesn’t let up for a second. We have a total adrenaline rush here, that sees you moving from one fight scene, to the next gunbattle and all of these are pretty brutal too. The director doesn’t have a problem with depicting violence, but it never get too gory. As mentioned though, the action certainly wasn’t unrealistic, and it was also refreshing to see that Riley isn’t an invulnerable superwoman but actually get’s wounded, and quite a lot too. The action sequences were choreagraphed very decently, and certainly won’t leave anyone who craves for action in their films feel slighted. The rest of the roles in this film weren’t very memorable to be honest, but this is pretty much a film that is carried by the role of Garner, and I was fine with that.

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Testing, testing..one, two, three….

I had fun with this film. It’s a movie that doesn’t reinvent the revenge genre, but I have to be honest that I’m not always looking for movies that feel the need to do that. Sometimes it’s nice to see just a solid entry into a familiar genre, and on that front this movie absolutely delivers. So do I recommend the film? Well, if you love oldschool action movies, with gunbattles, and energetic fight sequences with a solid female lead, I would say go for it. If that isn’t you usual cup of tea, this movie won’t convince you otherwise, and it’s best to avoid it then. What this movie does prove though is that it’s never a good idea to mess with a mother’s love for her child. Or women in general. Some can certainly turn into angels of vengeance, a lesson that one does best to not forget. And in case you might have forgotten it, I hope you won’t ever run into Riley North. Because I am pretty sure she won’t mind in helping you remember it…..

I give Peppermint a 7 out of 10 score.

 

The Blog Evolution Tag

Hello everyone! So, it’s time for another tag. But this one is a bit different than usual. Because it was created by none other than the awesome Karandi James and ……me! Yes people we have a new and original tag for you, that we both hope everyone is going to enjoy. It’s also a bit more unique, at least we think so, because as far as we know this is the first collab tag. So how did this tag come about, and what exactly is The Blog Evolution Tag? Karandi and I have been blogging for roughly the same amount of time, and as we so often do, we were exchanging comments on a post and started talking about blogging. More specifically about the fact that over the years our blogs, and writing styles changed (hopefully for the better! 😅). We also said it might be fun to one day revisit some of our old posts and compare them to what we are doing now. And then an idea started forming about how we might turn this into a tag and let a fellow blogger be the judge of what exactly changed. And so, we now proudly present: The Blog Evolution Tag! Let’s dive into the rules, and then of course Karandi and myself are going to present the first post!

The Rules

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Better obey these rules….or else……!!!
1. Pick a partner with whom you want to this tag (yes, as mentioned this is going to be a collaboration tag!)
2. Select a post from the early days of your blog (preferably the very first post you ever wrote)
3. Select a post from the current days of your blog
4. Send your selections to your partner and ask him/her the three questions below and also answer them yourself as well.
a. What did you like about each post?
b. What do you think has changed the most?
c. What do you think might change in the future?
5. Both of you then write a post for the two old/new posts of your own blog, but you include the answers your partner gave you
6. Link back to the original post of the creators of this tag: Karandi & Raistlin
7. Try to publish your tag post around the same time your partner does and include The Blog Evolution Logo
8. Select 3 people to also get tagged (only select the person you want to tag not his/her partner).

 

The Questions:

A. The Old Post: What I liked about it

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The Old Post, my first one ever written: D-day a Korean Drama Series

Michel’s answer: Well, this is actually the first post that I have written when my blog started. It’s for a Korean drama series call D-Day. At the time I wrote this one, I really did not have a clue what I was doing. I had no real plan for my blog, and I just wrote it purely on my own feelings for this series. And I guess that is pretty much what I like about this post: it is a quite enthusiastic post and at least get’s across the fact that it’s a show that I truly enjoyed watching.

Karandi’s answer: This tag is great, I got to read a post from Raistlin that I’d never seen before. This post has Raistlin’s characteristic review structure already kind of worked out where we get a bit of an overview about the film/show in question and then we get into some more specific aspects. I loved how much enthusiasm Raistlin had for this series, though it makes sense given it is the first thing he decided to review on his blog. It seems unlikely you would start a blog to review something you hated. I really enjoy how Raistlin takes the readers with him through this series and its positives. He doesn’t ignore the fact that there are some issues, but he doesn’t linger on them either. Basically he makes you feel like he really wanted you to enjoy reading about something he enjoyed.

A. The New Post: What I liked about it

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The New Post, Tunnel another Korean drama series (you know I like those right?)

Michel’s answer: By pure chance this was also a post for a Korean drama, but one that was written almost two years after the old post. What I liked for this one, was the first paragraph. I usually like to start my posts with a small tale that in some way connects to whatever I am reviewing, and I liked the fact that this one really set a bit of creepy tone. Of course I was totally having fun here, and I thought it turned out quite well.

Karandi’s answer: Another post I actually missed from Raistlin and I’m glad this tag gave me the chance to read it. While I said in the old post that Raistlin’s characteristic review structure was already there, reading the new post immediately after made me realise that while the same outline is there, Raistlin has indeed evolved a lot in the time between these two posts. The overview in the beginning is more open about the genre and themes and works to engage the reader in a general way before narrowing the focus down to the series being reviewed. While there is still a lot of enthusiasm, there’s now a lot more explanation and reasoning for the enthusiasm which helps not just make the reader feel that Raistlin liked something but makes us really want to see it too because it sounds great. There’s a generally more polished tone and confidence in the writing and it was absolutely great to read.

B. What do you think has changed the most?

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Changes are….hopefully for the better!

Michel’s answer: When I compare the two posts I think the thing that really changed the most is the structure. The first post kind of went all over the place (not to mention the lack of pictures, and the many typos lol), but the newer one has a starting point, middle and end. And the writing style has pretty much improved too, becoming a little bit more engaging and not only dealing with the series itself.

Karandi’s answer: I think Raistlin has found a balance between being a viewer and being a reviewer. He’s finding ways to share his love of something as a fan but to explain it in a way that is more convincing to the reader that they might also find something to enjoy. I also felt there was a bit more confidence behind his statements in the newer post. That said, what hasn’t changed is Raistlin’s positive and generous nature giving credit to those who worked hard on the series either on screen or behind it. Raistlin is always incredibly respectful to the actors and crew and I find that an incredibly endearing trait of his as a reviewer.

C. What do you think might change in the future?

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Okay..of course I totally had to add a time machine from Stein’s Gate…….

Michel’s answer: I want to experiment more with trying out different styles for my posts. Right now I usually have a pretty basic structure that I am happy with, but I also want to try different styles as well and just experiment. So I think that my writing style, just as it did in this last post might change again in the future. Hopefully of course for the better, but I guess I will let my readers be the judge of that!

Karandi’s answer: I’m not sure if anything needs to change. Raistlin’s posts are always on point, full of enthusiasm, and give enough detail to get an idea of what the film, series, anime, whatever is about without giving too much away. He has a great voice and visiting his blog really is like having a conversation with an old friend about something you both enjoy. Though, if these two posts are anything to go by, I think Raistlin will continue to develop confidence as a reviewer and in his opinion and I also feel he might continue to work on ensuring he is giving enough examples and evidence to justify his view without crossing into complete spoiler territory. That said, I really love Raistlin’s blog as it is.

And tagging:

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Oh come on, ofcourse I had to include a Pokemon picture for this last section!!

Well, the three people that I want to tag for this one can be found below. As mentioned above, you are free to choose anyone who you would like to be your partner. Of course there is no pressure in doing this one, but as this is a new tag, Karandi and I certainly hope you find this interesting enough to pass this tag on to others as well. And of course thank you in advance if you want to do this. You do know you are all awesome right? So…without further ado, I nominate:

Irina

Ayano

Arthifis

Thank you all for reading. I hope you enjoyed this tag, and don’t forget to check out Karandi’s post for this which you can find here. Let me know what you thought of this one in the comments section below! See you around!

 

Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows, A boardgame for 1-4 players by Kadokawa

Have you noticed that small text in the left hand corner of my blog? (Made you look didn’t I?) It actually says Michel’s Book/Boardgame/Movie review blog. One would almost forget that I love boardgames too, as my last post on a boardgame dates back to the beginning of this year. So, it’s time to change that and do a new review for a small but fun little dice game based on the popular anime Sword Art Online. And this one is for Rose (go check out her awesome blog if you haven’t already!) as I promised her this post quite a while back. Sorry it took me some time to finally get this one done, but hey I usually always try to keep my promises. On the box it says this is a boardgame, but quite honestly I think this is much more a dice game than a boardgame. But whatever label you put on this, it really doesn’t matter. It’s a fun game and one that you will like especially if you enjoyed the first season of the anime. For those of you that are unfamiliar with this, Sword Art Online takes place in 2022 where a popular virtual reality game is introduced to the world. However something goes horribly wrong and all the players become trapped in the game. And dying in the videogame, means dying in the real world as well. With that cheery note done, let’s go check out what we have here!

Components

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One has to love that box art!

Even though this is a pretty small box, I have to say that it contains a lot of pretty cool stuff. The first thing to notice are the awesome (and very cute) special dice that are included. I have made an enlarged picture for you guys down below, so you can see them better. Yes those totally are the faces of a couple of the main characters of the anime. We have six of them in this game, and of course Kirito and Asuna are amongst them. The characters themselves are depicted on six oversized cards that provide information you will need during the game. We then have nine item cards that showcase some things that will help you as the game progresses. Also included are some tokens, cards that represent the dangers you will face during the game, and of course the set would not be complete without a rules booklet. I honestly have to say that it isn’t the best rules guide ever written, but it does pretty much get the job done for the most part. All in all the components are very decent, and bring the anime to life in a good way.

Game Overview

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These dice are just Kawaii!!

So, how does this game work? Basically it has you take on the role of one of the characters from the anime and fight your way through, all the way to the top level of Aincrad. The weapons at your disposal are dice. Yes, they won’t really do much damage in real life (unless you throw them at someone that you don’t like really hard and really fast), but in this game they are your offensive weapons. Depending on which character you choose, you have special attack paterns which you use to defeat the enemies of the floor you are currently on. You have three floors to get through in total until you reach the final boss. Whenever you clear a floor, the characters level up and get more powerful skills at their disposal. But that of course also means that on the next floor the enemies become more powerful, so you will need those newly acquired skills. This is pretty much what they call a “push your luck” dicegame, though it also requires a bit of strategy.

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The way to the top is always difficult…..

To defeat the enemies on a floor you roll the dice and compare them to your character card. Different combinations cause different levels of damage. So it is up to you to decide which attacks to use agains the current enemy. You are allowed to re-roll your dice two times and that’s where the challenge lies. Are you happy with the current results, or will you try to re-roll hoping for a better and higher level of damage? Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget the enemies fight back too. And when they cause enough damage to you, you die and the game is over. The fun thing is you can chain your attacks with other characters (in a solo game you play two characters at the same time) to cause even more damage…..if you are lucky. The game continues until either one of the player characters die, or the final floor is reached and the ultimate boss is destroyed.

Difficulty

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Ahhhh…so many good memories. How I love this series!

This game is not the most difficult one to learn, but it will take a bit of time to figure out exactly how everything works. The hardest thing really is to determine when to use which attack. Sometimes it can be a good thing to use a relatively easy dice roll in order to cause a low level damage attack. But then again, that won’t win you the game, so there are also times when you just have to take some risks. Winning the game is not easy, but it’s also not impossible. Of course with dice a lot of luck is involved, but I also liked the fact that the game encourages you to use some strategy. I found myself thinking a lot in this game calculating what to do, how much damage I could still take and maybe use a stronger attack in a later turn. With some trial and error pretty much everyone will be able to conquer this game, and learn it’s many secrets.

The Verdict

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Small box, big on content!

This is just one of those quick games that you can pick up and play whenever you have some time to waste. I loved the fact that this game really managed to capture the heart and soul of the anime. As you play through the scenarios and encounter some of the enemies and situations that Kirito and his friends found themselves in, I really felt myself thinking back to how much I loved the anime. It’s not for the first time that I really have this huge urge in me to rewatch the anime, seeing as I am a huge fan and haven’t even written a review for any of it’s seasons on my blog. But…that is a story for another time. Sword of Fellows is a fun little game that can be enjoyed by anyone, even those who haven’t seen the anime. The dicerolling mechanics work well, and it has quite a bit of replayability too as the floors are randomised each time you play the game.Each game takes about 30 minutes to play, and set up time is minimal. It will probably not be a game that you will pick up each day, but it is one that will return to the table quite a few times whenever you have some time to spare. So…..LINK START!!

I give Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows a 8 out of 10 score.

 

Jon’s Creator Showcase, August Edition, the final post!

Hi everyone! It’s the end of August, and after a full month of reading posts, we have reached the final and I guess what everyone was waiting for! First off I have to say that I already knew we have some talented people on WordPress, but after this month I am impressed even more. That said, I have had an enormous amount of entries to process, and that made making the decision to see who was going to be featured in this final post incredibly hard. Even if your post hasn’t made it here, just know that it’s only because it would be impossible for me to have every entry featured (that would mean a post of maybe more than ten thousand words, not exactly fun to read anymore). But rest assured everyone who entered a post this month totally showed their A-game. So, before we start let’s first see again what the showcase is all about. And let’s not forget to thank Jon who started this whole project in the first place!

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The Goals:

  • Give exposure to both the host & creators who submit content to the showcase.
  • Highlight a wide variety of content including written word, art, video, audio, etc…
  • Allow for all creators, regardless of skill or current recognition, to participate and share their creations.
  • Encourage involvement from creators across all platforms.
  • Offer a fun and interactive way for people to discover new and interesting creations.
  • Inspire growth and exploration for both the host and creators.

This project has really grown into something incredible, and it’s truly amazing to see how much everyone has embraced it. Next month the Creator Showcase will be hosted by Fueledbysmiling so everyone look forward to that!. Now, let’s get to the good stuff! I decided to feature twenty posts in total here, and trust me, it was a really, really tough challenge to select the ones to be featured here. I have purposefully decided to mix things up here instead of just categorising them, as they simply all deserve a read! So..withou further ado, let’s get started.

Blogging is Hard!- Arthifis’ Place

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1. I think it’s very safe to say, that we all have trouble with blogging at times. As much fun as it is (and let’s face it, we all would not be here if it wasn’t), there are times when you just wonder why you do it in the first place. Your stats might be dropping, or you find other reasons to just make it harder for you. Arthifis has written a fantastic post for this subject, while at the same time motivating us all to keep going at it. Truly a post that everyone, new bloggers or veterans alike, should read.

Possibly Unknown Free Streaming Services

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2. We all live in different parts of the world, and not everyone might have as much access to anime, as some other people do. So, that’s where Scott’s post comes in. It offers some great help in finding some new, and free streaming sites, that not everyone might have yet heard from. I for one hardly knew any of them and I think that anyone who loves anime and has trouble finding where to watch it, should truly check out this amazing post!

My One-Hundred Eleven Favorite Games!

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3. Ah…nostalgia! I think everyone, well at the very least pretty much all of you, has at some point or another encountered video games. And as in most things, there will be games that you truly loved, and others that you truly hated. TheWellredmage has put together an absolutely amazing list of games that should contain something for everyone. I loved the amount of work and love that was put into this list, and it really brought back some great memories for me, from the time when I played videogames. This is truly a wonderful post, which everyone that has some love for videogames, should check out.

Bioshock Infinite

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4. Speaking of computergames, Bioshock was a gameseries that back in the day I enjoyed quite a lot. In fact Bioshock Infinite was one of the final games I played before I quit gaming. Now, I did not choose Red Metal’s post on it, because I loved the game. No, I chose it because it’s one of the most comprehensive, well researched and quite frankly best reviews I have ever read on a game. Period. The amount of details and background this post has is absolutely astounding, and it really shows of the talent that this blogger has.

Free Bookish Blogger Templates For Scheduling and Statistics

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5. Now, for those of you that know me, you know that I pretty much have no blogging schedule whatsoever. With my job it would just add to much pressure, and I know that I would not be able to stick to it anyway. But I also know that a lot of you do love to keep order, statistics and stuff like that and that’s where Kaleena’s fantastic post comes in. It offers free and easy to use spreadsheets to keep track of your blogging schedule, books you have read, and statistics on them. While it focusses on books, they can be adapted to be used for pretty much anything and I really think this will be a great help to a lot of you out there!

Review: Girl Made of Stars

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6. Writing a review for something is hard. As my own blog mainly deals with reviews, I think I can safely say that the hardest thing about reviews is making it a good read and at the same provide the reader with what to expect from whatever you are reviewing. The Bookish chick wrote a review for the novel Girl made of Stars, that almost read like a book. It really was that good. This novel deals with some very tough subjects, but the way she presents her review for it, and her writing style is just very engaging. So, go ahead and check it out already!

Spending an Afternoon Following a Trust

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7. Sometimes a blogger surprises you, and then there are bloggers that always surprise you. We all know Irina from her terrific posts about anime, but this is an entirely different post than that we are used to from her. It is a review for a book and a very well written review at that. This was an important post for her, and it shows, as it really has a lot of heart in it. At the end of the post she asks us: “ So, how did I do for a first time?” (As this is her first book review). Really? Did she even have to ask?

Fraggle-Reports St. Albans Cathedral-May 2018

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8. There are a lot of wonderful places to visit in the world, and a lot that also contain a very rich history. The way to discover these places is by reading up on them. Pictures work well too of course. So why not combine the both of them and make it even more engaging?  Fraggle does just that, by giving us a post that describes in great detail (and also with a touch of wonderful humor) the history of St. Albans Cathedral. The finishing touch however is provided by her incredible photography skills. I so want to head over there now!

In Defense of Crunkcore Music

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9. So, we almost did not get this post because Lethargic Ramblings was convinced he did not write anything worth showcasing. Luckily both Jon and myself managed to persuade him to enter this one as it’s totally terrific. I don’t listen to music much anymore these days, but this post brings us a genre of music that I myself had never heard of. Even though I admitted that I don’t really care for this style, it’s still a post that is a truly engaging read, and a it shows that a lot of time and effort went into creating this post. And who knows? It might even introduce you to a style of music that you end up liking very much!

Gaming-People’s Reactions and Actions

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10. As much fun as gaming can be, there are times when it can have a negative effect on some people. And it becomes even worse when people get hurt in the process. Leave it up to Lina to once again provide us with a post that touches upon a subject that has been the source of debate for a long time. And write a post that is not only very well written, which should not really be a real surprise anymore, but it also provides us with a lot of food for thought in the process.

Why Book Blurbs are important

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11. So you know that old saying, “you can’t judge a book by it’s cover?” That is so true. I guess we have all been tempted once in a while by a beautiful cover on a novel and went out to buy, without even knowing what the book is about. Which is why Charvi wrote a post about why it’s so important for a book to have a blurb. You know one of those things that just provide a short synopsis of what a book is about. She writes a convincing, and also quite funny post about it, and I really had a blast reading this one.

While you were sleeping// K-drama review

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12. More and more people are (luckily) discovering the world of K-dramas. It’s a truly fantastic world to enter as well, as it contains something for everyone. Even though my own love for these dramas is well known, that’s not the reason that I have included Sumedha’s post on the Korean drama series While you were sleeping. No, I have decided to feature this one on the showcase because it really is more than just a review. It offers us things about the story itself, the characters, but also points out plotholes and even includes some music clips. All in all, it’s a very fun, and just great read.

“Know Yourself” A Reflection on Arthifis’ Post on Personality

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13. Okay, officially I should not have allowed this entry, as it’s a post that was published on the 1st of August, and thus is not from July. As we are talking about only one day, and considering the fact that it’s such a good post I decided to include CuriouslyDeadCat’s post anyway. It shows exactly what blogging is all about, by taking advice from fellow blogger Arthifis, the original post is taken one step further. It provides us with a gread read on why it’s so important to be yourself on your blog, and CuriouslyDeadCat’s own take on that. I love the fact that it’s one of those posts that really make you think, while at the same time letting you grow as blogger.

The tale of a broken friendship between a Monkey and a Crow

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14. I think that one of the best things in this world is a good friendship. And I don’t think anyone would ever disagree with that (and the ones that do, probably have no heart lol). Mel wrote a truly beautiful post about the (broken) friendship between Fushimi and Yate from the manga Lost Small World which is part of the K-Project. I havent’ read the manga myself, nor have I seen the anime, but after having read this, I truly regret that. It’s a powerful post, and one that totally explores a lot of the facets that truly define the words friendship.

Terry Pratchett Read-a-thon: Book 1-The Colour of Magic

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15. We all know that reading books is fun. But how much more fun is reading books with other people! We all know about Watch-a-longs, but Read-a-thon’s is something that I haven’t heard much of. Leave it up to the wonderful Nicole to start up a read-a-thon for a whopping 41 book series by author Terry Pratchett. This is the first review for that book, and as usual it is expertly written with the trademark humor Nicole is famous for. I liked the entire idea behind this read-a-thon as it’s another great example of how much fun blogging can be, when you are joined by other people. And the great thing is: you can still join in at any time for this one!

Assortment of Confusing Manga Titles

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16. Sometimes you just need a fun post to read as well, and this is certainly one of them. Magicconan14 (Aria) gives us, as the title suggests an Assortment of Confusing Manga Titles. And they are confusing indeed: what do you think about: Dead Dead Demons Dededede Destruction??? Confused yet?? I really enjoyed reading this one, and had a blast to make sense of some of the titles. (And totally failing of course) But let’s not forget to say that this post was put together really well!

Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms

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17. Movies can be very powerful things. Whether they are animated or live-action, they can often evoke emotional responses that are just as strong as the ones you have in real life. Ayano gives us an amazing post about a film, that because of this post I very much want to see. Her writing is able to strike a chord that immediately gives the reader a very vivid picture of what this film is all about. Which apparently is take you on an emotional rollercoaster. And when a post is already able to give you that feeling, I guess that really tells you a lot about the skill with which this post was written.

Lostorage Conflated WIXOSS Review & Series Retrospective

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18. Sometimes it is hard to get in anime series when it’s been running for a while. Especially when it has had multiple seasons/versions. As is well known by those of you that know me, I haven’t had a good track record of keeping up with anime, and the Wixoss series is one of those shows that I have been wanting to check out for a while now. Leave it up to Jon (yes THAT Jon) to write a post that not only reviews the latest incarnation, but also gives us a great overview of the entire franchise as whole. This fantastic post is a great starting point for anyone who ever wanted to start with this series.

YA is Maturing & It’s Good!

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19. One of the more popular genres in books these days is the Young Adult (YA) genre. But as is quite common when things are popular, there are also people that when it tries to take things into a perfectly natural direction, they seem determined to find it morally objectionable. Amber’s wonderful post gives us a clear and wonderful depiction of why it’s perfectly normal to have things like cursing and sex in these kind of books. I love it when a post tackles a much talked about subject, and isn’t afraid to stand up for it too. Amber’s post simply succeeds on all points!

Friday’s Feature: The Truth About Blogging

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20. The last post for this month’s showcase, but certainly not the least is written by someone who need no introduction: Karandi. In this post, Karandi let’s us know exactly how to raise your blog, and care for it. It might sound strange, but for many of us, myself included, our blogs are very important to us. Just like a pet, it needs care, and loving to keep it going. This wonderful post that should be read by everyone that has a blog, or is considering to maybe start one. It really is a truly terrific read, that let’s us know that blogging is hard work…and I guess in a roundabout way, looking a the first post in this feature, that brings us full circle.

If you have made it down to the end: thank you so much for being with me troughout this post! I have had enormous fun putting it together and I hope that you will enjoy checking all of these posts out!

Blog update: Upcoming events…..

Hello everyone! It’s been a while since I have done a real update since my hiatus and ever since then my blog has been kind of going all over the place. But things are about to change. With Jon’s Creator Showcase nearing it’s end, and the final post for it showing the results to be posted on the 1st of September, I thought it would be a nice idea to share with you my plans for the upcoming months. Then again, we all know how plans are subject to change, with real life interfering, but that said I am still excited to share some of my ideas with you.

The return of the themes…

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For those of you that have been following me for a while, you might recall that I started this year with the introduction of themes. What it came down to was that I picked a theme for each month and I would let my readers decide what I would watch and review. It was a lot of fun, bad sadly the last theme: Anime was never really completed in the way that I wanted to. That said, there has been a lack of anime content on my blog these past few weeks in the first place so I want to finish it properly in September. That means I will finally start to watch Baccano! and give it the review it deserves, and one that I promised a long while ago. I also have plans to fully rewatch a series but I am going to keep it under wraps which one that is, because if all goes well I hope to have a special collab post for that one. And then there are two shows that I am in the middle of but have never completed, Violet Evergarden and Space Battleship Yamato 2199. All of these I hope to feature somewhere in the upcoming month

A special project

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The wonderful Karandi and I have been working on a secret project which will be revealed to you if all goes well that is, on the 4th of September. As it’s a secret, and Karandi and I have made a sacred pact to not disclose any information at this time, I will not yet tell you anything about it. But…be on the lookout for the countdown over on twitter at some point in the upcoming week.

Other Stuff

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Don’t worry, besides anime there will be other things going on as well in September. I am currently reading a very exciting book by our very own Didi Oviatt called Aggravated Momentum. I would have finished it already, but things have been a bit busy on my end. Which doesn’t mean it isn’t awesome: It is…quite a lot actually. Expect a review for that in the upcoming month as well. Another thing that has been lacking on my blog is a review for Boardgames. I have promised Rose a review for the Sword Art Online: Sword of Fellows dicegame, and that one will be coming up soon. It’s one of those small, but truly fun games to play. And ofcourse as I am an enormous Sword Art Online fan, this one was pretty much a no brainer. You would think that would be enough now right?

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Wel…almost. I’m also going to continue writing movie reviews, and you can expect an assorment of different ones heading your way. Arrival, The Predator and The Great Wall are some of the titles that I plan to review. My love for Korean dramas wil ofcourse not go away any time soon either. The one I am currently watching, Voice, has got to be one of the darkest that I have ever seen. As I am quite comfortable with those kind of shows, I can’t wait to see how this series will progress and of course I really hope I can write a fun review for that one too.

In closing…

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Well, that’s about it. As the third week of September will be the start of my three week vacation from work, I hope to have a lot more time on my hands to catch up with stuff. For now though I am almost done with putting the finishing touches to the Jon Creator Showcase post. It’s been really difficult picking what to feature as there were so many good posts to choose from. I can’t wait to share the results with you on Saturday, and I hope the post will have been worth the wait for everyone. I’m excited to bring you all this stuff in September, and I hope there will be things that you look forward to as well. Thanks as always for reading, and see you all around!

Michels Book/Boardgame/Movie review Blog

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