Sunday, June 29, 2014

{Online Game}Review: Forge of Empires


In the browser game Forge of Empires you can build your own city and experience all of history from its perspective - from the stone age on through the centuries. Explore new technologies that ring in a new era. Leave a mark with unique, contemporary buildings and establish a gigantic metropolis that is unparalleled anywhere. Increase your empire with sophisticated strategic campaigns and skilled actions in Forge of Empires.

The strategy game Forge of Empires takes you through the different eras - explore new building types and technologies to continue developing your settlement. Meet the challenges of the single-player campaigns until you rule an entire continent, or compete against other players in the multiplayer mode. In the browser game Forge of Empires, dedicate yourself to research and develop more advanced battle units, innovative products and spectacular buildings. Passionate builders will have many opportunities to develop and beautify their cities in this strategy game. Good economic skills are essential in Forge of Empires to finance the growth of your empire with your residents’ tax money.
But not everything is peaceful in Forge of Empires. Fight exciting battles, use a variety of units and incorporate the individual features of the terrain in order to win. On the battle field you can either take on the computer or give other players a lesson in battle strategy. Steer the fate of your empire: Forge of Empires!

I am a bad gamer.  I have a real problem with figuring out where to go to find your next mission or how to solve the weird puzzles.  I get killed a lot.  And the frustration always make me give up after a few tries.

But this real time game (if it takes 4 hours to build a building – it takes four hours!) has had me hooked for the last few months.  Foe is a free online game where you build your little city through the ages.  I have played for a few months already and I am still in the Middle Ages.  I have recently been able to join a guild and now I am part of a team of players.  Having great fun!


If you want to join in the action, you can go here:

Let me know you gaming name, so we can be friends!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #6

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.  I had to give up on Hard Choices by Hillary Clinton.  I so wanted to love it but unfortunately it turned out to be just a lot of politics.  No “this happened while I was in the White House”, no it was (up until I gave up) dry, play-by-play, commentary.  It was just “we moved from point A to point B and then the Democrats said this and the Republicans replied with that . . .”  OH.MY.GOODNESS . . . I wanted personal details and stories not history lessons.  I am not even interested in the politics of my own country . . .  very disappointing.  I really like and respect Hillary Clinton and think that she has had a hard public life (especially with a husband like Bill Clinton and the scandal he brought into her life).  I admire how she has come through everything as a strong independent woman.  That is what I wanted to hear about. 

2.  Since I was diagnosed in November last year, I have put most of my hobbies on hold.  It was not just that I did not have the energy, I also lost my mojo.  I did not see the point of going on doing such mundane things when there was some living to be done.  But this past weekend, I picked up my needle again (strange what a upcoming birthday present decision can make you do!).  I have only done a couple of rows of very basic stitches but how I have missed it!  I am eager to sort out our garage this coming weekend and search out the boxes with my supplies that I stored somewhere in a corner.  Here is an example of one of the peyote bracelets I made last year.  I am just making a very basic multi color bracelet as a birthday gift for my boss but it is just put me in such a good mood.


3.  I watched a documentary on Discovery this week about the Busiest Train Station in the world (Japan).  Some of the workers live inside the station in little cubicle worker quarters.  Their airbeds are automatically deflated at a certain time in the morning so that they are not late for work.  I think that is a brilliant idea!  I need it in my bedroom – I hate getting out of the warm bed when the rain is beating against the windows.  Just another 5 minute snooze . . .

4. I loved THE ROSIE PROJECT, I really loved it.  It was a five star read (listen) for me.   When I rated on Goodreads, it automatically tweeted my rating and this morning Don Tillman Phd favored the tweet.  Hie-Hie.  Don Tillman is the fictional lead character of the book.  How sweet is that – “they” (whoever they might be? Publisher?) created a twitter handle for him.  Too cute!  I had to start following . . . I loved the character, so I can imagine what might be said . . .

Hopefully my next week’s reads will be equally enjoyable.  I started Annihilation for a bit of horror and afterwards will start 
Before I go to sleep for some psychological scaryness.  The reviews seem to be glowing, so let’s hope.


5.  I am so looking forward to the weekend – sometimes work can be such a shlepp . . . urgh, wish I could win the lotto!  I am definitely not a career-minded person.  I only work because I have too – I do not have a career, I have a job Smile  Luckily the people I spend my day with are not too bad and on Friday we will be celebrating soccer fever.   Our different departments will be having a goal shooting contest. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

{Audiobook}Review: Mr Mercedes


Mr Mercedes
by Stephen King
Genre: Crime fiction
Date Read:  13 June 2014
Reading with my ears
Narrator:  Will Patton   
Unabridged audio - Length: 14 hours 21 minutes

A cat-and-mouse suspense thriller featuring a retired homicide detective who's haunted by the few cases he left open, and by one in particular - the pre-dawn slaughter of eight people among hundreds gathered in line for the opening of a jobs fair when the economy was guttering out. Without warning, a lone driver ploughed through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes.
The plot is kicked into gear when Bill Hodges receives a letter in the mail, from a man claiming to be the perpetrator. He taunts Hodges with the notion that he will strike again. Hodges wakes up from his depressed and vacant retirement, hell-bent on preventing that from happening. Brady Hartfield lives with his alcoholic mother in the house where he was born. And he's preparing to kill again. Only Hodges, with a couple of misfit friends, can apprehend the killer in this high-stakes race against time. Because Brady's next mission, if it succeeds, will kill or maim hundreds, even thousands.

My thoughts:
Mr Mercedes is the journey of Bill Hodges, a police detective, with nothing to live for after his retirement from the force.   He puts away his father’s gun (and thoughts of using it) as he begins to tract the one crazy killer he was never able to catch. 

Brady Hartfield is very sick.  It is scary to think that he lives in real life too.  People blending nicely into society but with grandiose thoughts of being famous as the greatest killer.  black-1

I loved how King revealed only little bits of the support characters at a time.  We never really got to know the the other characters in the book, just enough to give us glimpses into the reasons for Brady’s psychosis. 

One of these characters is Freddy, Brady’s younger brother.  He is only mentioned a few times in this book but I felt such empathy for him.  A poor little lost soul, born into a family that ultimately killed him.  Freddy was always slow and suffered brain damage during his short life which made caring for him a huge burden on the family.  I understand the frustrations that the family must have felt but poor little Freddy did not deserve his life.  Thankfully he would not have understood all that went on.

If you are looking for a scary horror by the great master, then you will be disappointed.  Mr Mercedes is only scary in the way that an insane person can be scary.   And Brady is scary . . .
This is instead a great detective story, defining the phrase “cat and mouse games”. 

Will Patton once again showed why he is such a beloved narrator.  He did an excellent job and the story flowed beautifully from scene to scene.  He is a true professional.  Love him!

My Album 37-004


Sunday, June 22, 2014

{TV series}Review: Helix


A team of scientists are thrust into a potentially life-or-death situation in this thriller, which begins with the group being deployed to the Arctic to secretly investigate what could be a disease outbreak.

This is a roller-coaster ride of a series.  I loved it!  Each episode had you believing another version of what the truth might be!  The whole series is played out in a “secret” arctic science lab where more that just lawful experimentation might be going on.    A group of CDC scientists are up against a decease that not even the director of the lab can (or want to) fully explain.  The first season ended on a cliffhanger of sorts and I am very happy that a second season will follow in 2015.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #5

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.   I finished Mr Mercedes by Stephen King today.  I really enjoyed this crime story but I also miss his old terror-horrors.   I remember reading The Shining for the first time.  It was the first book that I had to put aside for a while because I was too scared (that was 20 or 25 years ago!).   I would love to find a really scary book again.  I haven’t read something truly scary in a long time.  If you have a favorite, I would love to hear from you . . .

2.  Next up I am debating if I am in the mood for something biographical – maybe Hillary Clinton’s new book – or maybe a light hearted romance – The Rosy Project . . . I will load both on my clip and see what I am in the mood for tomorrow.

                       17727276  16181775

3.  My poor Roxy baby is still suffering . . . I spoke of her separation anxiety a while ago.  We have gotten the strongest medication that the vet could prescribe but still it is no help.  We have now tried everything.  Tried a dog behaviorist, tried “training” by keeping her away from us for short periods even when we are home.  We even tried medication . . .   I don’t know anymore.  And the looks from the neighbors are getting worse . . . I really am so despondent . . . I am unhappy and she is unhappy . . . I have heard of “doggy daycares” – wish there was one nearby . . .


4.   I just love the minions Smile  I have a cover case for my phone and recently got a matching ringtone.  I can’t help smiling when my phone starts ringing . . . lifts my mood every time.

5.  Ever watched a movie and thought “. . . that is so much crap . . . “ but smiling broadly anyway . . .

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish Thoughts) #4

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.
1.  I have been reading some blog post recently with people making little emergency kits for when disaster strikes.  I don’t really need that as we do not have any tornados or earthquakes, etc but it did make me think.  We don’t have a great First Aid Kit.  I could not even tell you if we have a Band-Aid . . . I need a kit!
2.  What is it with unfriendly receptionists (or service people in general)! You are working with people in a client service environment  – get over it or get another job.  I am feeling ill, don’t give me an attitude as well!
3.  I saw this classic talking dog youtube video again this week and it made me smile even though I have seen it so many times.  Soooooo cute – deserve everyone of the 150+ million views Smile
4.  This year there seems to be Books-to-movies everywhere.  I love making to-do lists.  I should have a list and start reading all these books.  Any ideas?
5.  Watching Anthony Bourdain in Parts Unknown, I wonder if other cities/countries feel the same way when they see his program about their own country.  Frankly I was offended when I saw his South African program last night on Netflix.  Definitely not a balanced view of the country or of the food.  I used to love his shows, now I am beginning to wonder.  Was other places also as misrepresented . . . can I really believe what I saw and heard about some of the huge cities of the world . . .

Monday, June 9, 2014

{Audiobook} Review: The Fault in Our Stars


The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance
Date Read: 21 April 2014
Reading with my ears
Narrator: Kate Rudd
Unabridged audio - Length: 7 hours 14 minutes

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My thoughts:
I have been putting off reading this book for months.  It is such a touchy subject for me.  I am currently going through chemo therapy and I was afraid of what might lie within the pages of the book.  I have done enough crying.  I was worried what would be done with such a serious subject.   Would it be too morbid, would it be too sentimental . . . ?

But now, after having read it, I can honestly say that I enjoyed it so much.  Even if I am not a teenager anymore, I could identify with the characters - a lot of their feelings are my feelings too.  I even had a few moments when I had to laugh out loud.  It is all so true!  Yes, life goes on even with cancer Smile

There is not much that I can say that has not been said before, so I will leave it with my few personal thought above.

I can’t wait to see the movie.

My Album 37-004


Sunday, June 8, 2014

{Movie} Review: The Last Seven


The Last Seven (2010)
Starring:  Tamer Hassan, Simon Phillips, Danny Dyer, Ronan Vibert, Sebastian Street, Daisy Head, Rita Ramnani, John Mawson

A man awakes to find the streets eerily silent and all trace of life completely removed. He has no recollection of what has happened but he will soon discover that he is one of only seven people left alive. He will also discover that he can trust none of his fellow survivors.

My thoughts:
I found another independent film that is worth watching.  This film had me guessing until the surprise ending.  It is difficult to say much without spoiling your enjoyment of the movie, so I will just say if you like post apocalyptic dark stories, this one is for you.  You will not know who to trust until your socks are blown off with the ending.  I really enjoyed this movie.  It is amazing what talent can do with a shoe-string budget.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bookish (and not so bookish) Thoughts #3

Bookish and Not-So-Bookish Thoughts is hosted by Bookishly Boisterous. This is the place where we can talk about anything that pops into our minds, bookish or otherwise.  Your rants (good or bad) are welcome here too.  Come and share anything you want with us today.

1.  Sunday was such a wonderful winter day!  Rain against the windows, me under the blankets.  I felt inspired and wrote some reviews and did some drafts.  I have been in such a review-writing-slump that I hope it is a sign of good things to come.

2.  Wow, there are lots of movies based on books released this year!  Watching some of the trailers this week – I have some books to get to reading.  This one of THE GIVER caught my eye.  I already went for some retail therapy and got the book.

3.  My mind is too small for Instagram – I have been trying to get it going on my phone this week,  but no luck.  And the “how-to’s” are not helping.  I think I might need an IT-degree for this!  I am really being left behind in all this wonderful technology.


4.  Update:  The vet gave us some “stronger” medication for Roxy.  Apparently it is “human” medication that is dog-friendly and my vet says it made her tired the whole day through when she took it for a muscle relaxer.  Roxy is only a 7 kilogram baby but she is resisting that pill with passion.

5.  I read Still Alice this week.  The story revolves around a Harvard professor that develops early stage Alzheimer's Disease (she was only 50 years old).    Scary . . . and also very sad.  It was different reading it for the patient’s point of view.  A four star read!21534056.  I am debating with myself what to read next.  Suggestions?   Romance, contemporary fiction or maybe horror, science fiction??  Maybe the new book by Stephen King that is/was released this month – have to go check.


Monday, June 2, 2014

{Audiobook} Review: 14

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00012]
by Peter Clines
Genre: Mystery, Horror, Science Fiction
Date Read: 07 May 2014
Reading with my ears
Narrator: Ray Porter
Unabridged audio - Length: 12 hours 38 minutes

Padlocked doors. Strange light fixtures. Mutant cockroaches.
There are some odd things about Nate’s new apartment.
Of course, he has other things on his mind. He hates his job. He has no money in the bank. No girlfriend. No plans for the future. So while his new home isn’t perfect, it’s livable. The rent is low, the property managers are friendly, and the odd little mysteries don’t nag at him too much.
At least, not until he meets Mandy, his neighbor across the hall, and notices something unusual about her apartment. And Xela’s apartment. And Tim’s. And Veek’s.
Because every room in this old Los Angeles brownstone has a mystery or two. Mysteries that stretch back over a hundred years. Some of them are in plain sight. Some are behind locked doors. And all together these mysteries could mean the end of Nate and his friends.
Or the end of everything...
My thoughts:
This book was such a nice surprise.  I had started the ebook a while back but had to set it aside for a shiny new title and totally forgot about it until a friend suggested I give it a try.  I expected horror (I love horror!).  But this story was more of a mystery.  The first three quarters of the book, we are trying to figure out where the crazy was coming from (and there are a lot of crazy!).  Huge illuminating cockroaches anyone (I would have not even unpacked!)black-1
Very soon, the tenants of the apartment building getting to know each other, having fake movie-nights so that they can discuss the mystery without the supervisor noticing.  I loved the way that all the friends had their own story and background explained.  There were not many that were not very quickly a beloved part of the story.  

This was a four star read for me until just a few chapters from the ending.  I do not want to give away spoilers, so I will just say that the book took a strange turn that I did not enjoy.  But all in all it was an enjoyable experience.
Audio:  I really enjoyed the voice of Ray Porter.  I think I could listen to him read the phonebook.  His voice is so smooth – it just flows over you.  I just felt sorry for him when he had to read some of the drama in the last few pages – wonder what he was thinking Smile
My Album 37-0012014-Audio-Challenge

Sunday, June 1, 2014

{Movie} Review: Unthinkable


Unthinkable (2010)
Starring:  Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Michael Sheen

A psychological thriller centered around a black-ops interrogator and an FBI agent who press a suspect terrorist into divulging the location of three nuclear weapons set to detonate in the U.S.

My thoughts:
Unthinkable is literally about the unthinkable.  Samuel L. Jackson is an interrogator that has no limits.  He will not stop until the terrorist reveals his secrets.  Agent Helen Brody has more of a moral dilemma with his integration methods.  But can she stand idly by when so many (including themselves) could die in the next few days.

This movie is about what is morally right.  Is torture only wrong if is not done for your own noble reasons.  How about if it is to save millions of lives?  What if you could prevent three nuclear bombs from detonating.  What would you allow to be done to the one man that knows the locations of these bombs?

I found this movie very entertaining but be warned it has a few gruesome torture scenes.