Replaying an Old Favorite

In the past, whenever I try to go back and play previous Assassin’s Creed games, I find myself disappointed. Usually, the improvements in newer games, both in mechanics and technology, make older games feel dated and clunky.

However, after my poor response to Valhalla, I decided to seize a small silver lining and replay the older titles that I’d enjoyed. My original thought was to replay Odyssey (2018). However, with how much I’d enjoyed Syndicate (2015), I decided to try going back to it. Be aware, there are likely spoilers in this post, but if you haven’t played it in 5 years, I don’t think you’ll mind spoilers.

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My Thoughts on Soul

I finally got around to watching Soul a couple of weeks ago. I’d heard and read so many good things about it. Such universal praise made me eager to finally experience it for myself.

First of all, this isn’t a typical review. OK, now that that’s out of the way, let’s jump in.

I certainly agree with some of what I’d read. It’s definitely a more mature story; Soul doesn’t feel at all like a children’s movie. The story itself, it’s arc, and bare bones is well-written. The animation and character design are impeccable. The color palettes both for the characters and for the different “realms” were well nuanced.

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Review – A Lady’s Reputation

A Lady’s Reputation

by Amy D’Orazio

A Lady's Reputation

Genres: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Classical Re-write, Adult
Release Date: July 29, 2019
Pages: 470
Purchase from: Amazon
My Rating: ★★★★★

“Mr. Darcy, I am eager to hear your explanation for the fact that quite a few people believe we are engaged.”

It starts with a bit of well-meant advice. Colonel Fitzwilliam suggests to his cousin Darcy that, before he proposes to Elizabeth Bennet in Kent, perhaps he ought to discuss his plans with their families first.

What neither man could have predicted however was that Lord Matlock would write the news to his sister, or that Viscount Saye would overhear and tell his friends, or that his friends might slip a little and let their friends know as well. The news spreads just as quickly through Hertfordshire once Mrs Bennet opens the express Mr Bennet receives from Mr Darcy, and in a matter of days, it seems like everyone knows that Mr Darcy has proposed marriage to Elizabeth Bennet.

Everyone, that is, except Elizabeth herself.

Her refusal is quick and definite—until matters of reputation, hers as well as Jane’s, are considered. Then Mr Darcy makes another offer: summer at Pemberley so that Jane can be reunited with Mr Bingley and so that he can prove to Elizabeth he is not what she thinks of him. Falling in love with him is naturally impossible…but once she knows the man he truly is, will she be able to help herself?

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Review – The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen

The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen

by Ada Bright and Cass Crafton

The Unexpected Past of Miss Jane Austen

Series: Austen Adventures, Book 2
Genres: Time Travel, Romance, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Adult
Release Date: November 7, 2019
Pages: 322
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★★

Rose Wallace thought her time-travelling adventures were over. Jane Austen is about to prove her wrong.

After becoming trapped in present-day Bath due to a mishap with her time-travelling charm, Jane Austen is safe and sound back in the 1800s thanks to Rose’s help. Now, Rose is ready to focus on her fledgling romance with dreamy Dr Aiden Trevellyan.

But when Jane reappears in the present, it looks like Rose and Aiden have no choice but to follow her back to 1813…

Staying in the Austen household, Rose and Aiden are introduced to a number of interesting figures from the past, including Jane’s eccentric – and surprisingly modern – neighbour. Suddenly Rose’s life is in need of a re-write as she discovers some unexpected ties to Jane Austen’s world and her past.

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Review – Hunting Prince Dracula

Hunting Prince Dracula

by Kerri Maniscalco

Hunting Prince DraculaSeries: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 2
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Release Date: September 19, 2017
Pages: 480
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine…and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.
But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

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Review – Stalking Jack the Ripper

Stalking Jack the Ripper

by Kerri Maniscalco

Stalking Jack the RipperSeries: Stalking Jack the Ripper, Book 1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Horror, Romance
Release Date: September 20, 2016
Pages: 352
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

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Ralph Breaks the Internet

I got to see Ralph Breaks the Internet (RBtI) on Sunday. It was a great movie, totally living up to the expectations generated by the first one.

Spoiler-Free Zone

While watching it, I couldn’t help but notice how much social commentary there was within it. I don’t know if I’ve somehow missed it in previous movies, or if it’s just more prominent in RBtI. From Yesss’s words on the internet comment sections, to the way people are represented via their avatars, there are a bunch of eye-opening moments that make you stop and think for a second.

The adult jokes and the self-deprecating humor were other welcome additions that helped make RBtI feel less like a kid’s movie and more like a movie for anyone. I’m really looking forward to watching this one again later.

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Crimes of Grindelwald

I saw Crimes of Grindelwald (CoG) this past Sunday. It was an interesting movie. I liked it enough that I couldn’t find a good place to duck out to the bathroom. TMI, I know, but it makes my point. That said, buckle in, grab a snack, because this one’s going to be long.

Spoiler-Free Zone

I left the theater in shock (for lack of a better word) over some of what was revealed. Hence the delay in this post. I kept turning over everything the movie had thrown at me, and I was left with way more questions than answers.

But now, I’ve processed the movie as much as I can for the moment. There’s a lot I won’t understand or know until future installments, but that’s OK. After all, this is only part 2 of 5. But JK has a lot of explaining to do.

There were far less “fantastic beasts” in this one, which was a bit sad for me, but the Kelpie was absolutely gorgeous, the Zouwu was adorable, and the baby Nifflers were too cute for words and didn’t get enough screen time.

I hope at some point we’ll get the whole story behind the Leta Lestrange/Scamander Brothers relationship, as there’s clearly some major backstory there.

That’s just about everything I have to say that’s spoiler free. If you aren’t OK with spoilers, it’s time for you to stop reading. If, however, you’re OK with them, or have already seen CoG, then click the button below to read the rest of this.

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Review – Shifters and Glyphs

Shifters and Glyphs

by Christina Bauer

Shifters and GlyphsSeries: Fairy Tales of the Magicorum, Book 2
Genres: Paranormal, Fairy Tale, Romance
Release Date: October 30th 2018
Pages: 334
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Google PlayKoboiBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

After being raised by the meanest fairies in the history of ever, Bryar Rose is now free to live her own life. For the first time, she’s attending West Lake Prep, a regular high school. Well, mostly regular. Some students are actually hidden members of the Magicorum. In other words, they’re really wizards, fairies, or shifters. Bry doesn’t mind, though. She’s thrilled to enjoy all the new experiences of being around normal kids her age, from locker pranks to lunchtime mystery meat. Everything is going along great, except for one thing.

Bry’s dreams about the pyramids of Egypt have gotten darker and more sinister. Every night, she sees her new man Knox and her best friend Elle in danger.

With no other choice, Bry plans to leave school to explore the pyramids on her own. But her new man Knox discovers the scheme and is having none of it. He wants to stay by her side, no matter what. It’s a good thing too, because Bry must solve the mystery of her attraction to the pyramids and soon. Otherwise, it could cost the lives of those she loves most.

And that means not only Knox, but also her best friend Elle.

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Review – The Scythian Trials

The Scythian Trials

by Elizabeth Isaacs

The Scythian TrialsGenres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction
Release Date: October 16th 2018
Pages: 374
Purchase from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | KoboiBooks
My Rating: ★★★★☆

Descendants of the Amazons, the Scythians work alongside prominent governments but answer to no one. Warriors living on the fringe of civilization, they live by one credo: Strength through Equality. Power through Knowledge.

Nya Thalestris is the brightest Scythian of her generation. Strong, capable, ruthless, she is sure to earn a spot in the Trials, a time-honored mating ritual responsible for the evolution of her species.

Abducted by their sworn enemy, the Drahzda, Nya is forever altered and spirals out of control. The Society sends in Jax Nickius. Infamous psychologist and one of the most brutal warriors of their kind, he discovers triggers planted in Nya’s mind. As Nya solidifies her spot in the Trials, Jax develops a plan to help her heal—while pursuing her as a mate. But, Nya’s attraction to Jax is at war with her instinct to never let anyone get too close.

During the Trials, Nya’s repressed memories surface, revealing a new enemy—one from inside the consulate walls—and a traitorous alliance on the horizon that could irrevocably change the course of history.

Since before the Bronze Age, the Society has managed to safeguard humanity from itself … until now.

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