Monday, February 11, 2019

Review: Nova in New York

An advance reading copy of the book was
provided to me by Orca Book
Publishers & NetGalley in exchange
for an honest review.
(This review was originally intended to be posted before the publishing date of this book, and I'd like to apologize to my readers as well as the amazing people at Orca Book Publishers for the delay.)

Have I mentioned before how much I love books about dancers?πŸ’ƒ Or how about how much I love books that are set in New York City?🏦🏩🏒 Well, this title has both, and a super pretty cover!

Not only that, but this novel has a Canadian author, a Canadian publisher, and a Canadian protagonist! I've started off my newest year of reading in the right directions - those directions being 1) Canadian🍁 and 2) Awesome 😎

Apologies for the emoji overkill - now on to the actual review!

Nova is a Canadian teenager who has been studying ballet for 10 years and has been accepted to a prestigious summer dance program in NYC. It's her first time out on her own in a big city and her first time living farther than a few steps from her dad and farther than a bike ride from her aunt Ivy. Along with the anxieties that come with being in a big, unfamiliar city and being on her own for the first time, Nova also has to work hard in her program's classes under the unrelenting scrutiny of the instructors, all of whom have high expectations for these students who have earned a spot in this professional and highly competitive program. She struggles during the lessons and can't help but compare herself and her skills to the other dancers, and Nova even begins to question whether or not she wants to dance professionally at all.

One thing I need to mention right away is that this book is intended for a younger age group than other books I typically read, with this novel being less than 130 pages and directed towards readers ages 9-12. While this is still definitely a teen/YA read, the novel's pacing is directed by its size and the story may seem rushed for those who are used to reading larger to average-sized books. Even though this will be a quick read for avid bookworms, it is still highly enjoyable; this novel has a way of reminding its readers of their own dreams and passions, and it gets them thinking about what exactly caused them to fall in love with those dreams in the first place.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

10 Exciting Book Releases in 2019

Happy 2nd week of 2019, my friends! Sorry that this post is a little later than I intended it to be; I've had this same cold since before Christmas and its been kicking my butt XP But I was finally able to finish researching and ranking books being released in 2019 that I am the most excited for, and I can't wait to share my top 10 list with all of you 😊
#1: I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn!
Pub Date: 28/05/19. Genre: YA Fiction
Any book taking place - fully or in-part - in modern-day Japan will always rank high on my TBR list πŸ’ If the title alone didn't already sell me (I'll be honest, I love the title, it's both punny and adorable!), then the premise certainly did: Kimi Nakamura loves designing clothes for her and her friends, but her mother is upset that Kimi is spending her time on "distractions" instead of working on her fine arts portfolio for college. She gets the chance to escape from her life and her mother's expectations when her grandparents invite her to stay with them in Kyoto for Spring Break. And the guy that she meets in Japan and ultimately falls for is a med student who works as a mascot who wears a mochi costume πŸ˜† What's not to love?
#2: Normal People by Sally Rooney!
Pub Date: 16/04/19. Genre: Adult Fiction/New Adult Fiction
I already reeeeeeally wish that this book was out now, because I'm really anxious to read it! I immediately fell in love with the title, but I really liked the idea about a book surrounding two people that are polar opposites, both regarding their personalities and their in-school popularity, but who are friends behind the scenes that reunite a year later when they're both away at a college in Dublin, where their social statuses are reversed from where they were in high school.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

MewnBase - From The Gaming Enthusiast

It's strange that with all the time I spent playing video games in 2018, it's been longer than a hot minute since I've written any video game-centric posts. Luckily I've been kicking off this next year of video games right with this early-access title that is enjoyable, easy to play, and incredibly adorable. Ladies and iggles, may I introduce to you, MewnBase!
I came across this game while browsing on the Steam store recently, looking for games that were still fairly-priced despite the Winter Steam Sale being over. This game has been in development since 2016 and has recently become available on Steam Early Access, whereas it was originally available exclusively on Itch.io. It's being developed by a single developer named Steve Ford, aka Cairn4. He's also the solo developer on the game Pombie Zong and has worked on other titles such as Glitch's Trip and Zombie Scrapper.

So, back to the awesomeness that is MewnBase: It's described by Cairn4 as "A Space-Cat Survival and Base-Building Game" and it fits right into my wheelhouse of favourite games; simulation, crafting, base-building, indie, resource collecting & management, casual gameplay, and also there's the obvious adorbs factor πŸ˜ΈπŸ’•
These pictures are from an earlier stage in this game's development; the graphics are still the same, aka equally adorable, but the UI has been updated to be more functional and easier to read & understand at a glance
The game has a great tutorial to teach players about the basic controls and mechanics of the game, although I did find there was a small period of time between the end of the tutorial and when I figured out exactly what I was supposed to do in order to progress with the game's technology tree. So while I feel the tutorial could possibly be a bit longer, perhaps lasting up until the moment that a player finishes analysing their first artifact, which earns technology points, but otherwise this game is very easy to grasp even for the most casual of players.

There isn't currently much in the way of a story arc for this game, but quite frankly at this point it doesn't need one in order to enjoy the game; you play as a space-cat who works to survive on a deserted planet by building a base that will provide your space suit with power and oxygen, you collect resources out in the world while finding and analysing various artifacts (which turn out to be super-cute cat-related items) which gives you tech points, which give the player access to other buildings that improve your base as well as other areas of gameplay.

Aside from the tutorial (which you can continue playing for up to a total of 15 in-game days), there are two play-modes available at this time - a basic mission mode which require you to survive on the planet for a set number of days, which increases each time you complete a mission, as well as an endless mode where you can take your time and work on unlocking every node on the technology tree.
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