Tuesday, July 5, 2016

New Books from Inkshares!

*Disclosure: I received these books to review for myself. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.

I recently received several new books from Inkshares, the crowdfunded book publishing site, to enjoy on my summer evenings. The first of these is called The Battle for Oz, by Jeyna Grace. Here's a bit about it, from the publisher's website:
When the great world of Oz is taken over by a new queen from a foreign land, Dorothy Gale is summoned in hopes that she would save Oz once again.
Unfortunately, Dorothy soon discovers that she is no match for this vicious intruder. Forced to uncover the truth, Dorothy has to travel through worlds to find the one the new queen fears. Only then, will Oz stand a chance at defeating this immortal enemy.
I read The Battle for Oz in one longish sitting- once I got going with it, I didn't want to put it down. This book is a visit back to the familiar characters of Oz as well as some other magical lands. About halfway through I realized that it reminded me of the TV show Once Upon a Time, with its linking of characters from different fantasy lands and stories. All in all, a very satisfying read and I will definitely seek out the sequel!

The other book that I had the chance to read is very different from The Battle for Oz, but was also very enjoyable. It's called The Tulip Factory, by Kacie Davis IdolHere's a bit about this book:

Before they exchange even a single word, Corrine knows that James will change everything. And sure enough, their serendipitous meeting in a North Carolina coffee shop sets off a whirlwind of desire and possibilities for the two.

Timing, however, isn’t on the couple’s side. After their relationship ends, Corrine finds that years of putting her career and passions on hold for love have led to a stalled life. She once saw her receptionist job as temporary but got too comfortable and, before she knew it, lost sight of her dream of becoming a writer.

Now, as Corrine makes her way into her late twenties, she’s on a quest to find herself. As she struggles to figure out what she really wants, she’ll discover that sometimes you have to take happiness into your own hands and that a fulfilling life is built on opportunities―even the missed ones.
I read a lot of romantic novels where you know what's going to happen from the first time the main characters are introduced- everything is going to be perfect and everyone is going to ride off into the sunset and live happily ever after. This is not that book, and I really appreciated that fact as I was reading it. The characters come across as very believable with real flaws and struggles. It's a book about finding your own place in the world and figuring out what to do when things don't work out perfectly. The Tulip Factory is really well-written and enjoyable to read. I recommend!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: New from Blue Orange Games- Gigamons!

*Disclosure: I received this game to review for myself. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone. 

It's summer vacation here (finally!), which means some long days with the kids out of school. And I try not to give into their wishes to play electronic devices for 23.5 hours a day, so other activities need to be on the schedule. Fortunately, we recently received a new game from our favorite game company, Blue Orange Games, called Gigamons. Here's a bit about it from the Blue Orange website:

Enter a realm where magic reigns and the world’s elements are creatures with mythical abilities! On your turn, you will look at 2 of the face-down Elemons on the table, revealing them to all players. When you find a pair of Elemons, you will earn them and also invoke their unique special power, giving you an advantage for the rest of the game. Every three of the same Elemon you find, will summon the corresponding Gigamon to your side. And when you have 3 Gigamons, you win the game! Gigamons is a game artistically designed to engage the player’s imagination and carry them away to a new world.

The kids and I have been playing lots of Gigamons since we got it, and it's definitely a big hit with all of us. I like that we all have to use our brains to think and try to remember where matches are- which is challenging in this game, because cards are constantly being removed and replaced! A work out for this mom's brain for sure! It's a really easy game to catch on to, and goes quickly, so no one gets bored. I also like that there are modifications that can be added to keep the game interesting and fun. The game pieces and cards are nice and sturdy and have held up well after play. We give this game all of the thumbs up!