Artist Appreciation: Ursalina Aguilar

Saturday, December 5, 2015
Posted by Starships and Dragons
A couple of months ago, I attended at a small, local convention named PalmCon, where I helped out a couple of my friends at their booth. When I went around, I didn't see much of notice: a small Artist Alley, a decal shop, a replica TARDIS. There was one artist that I did enjoy the work of, though.
Ursalina Aguilar is a designer and artist that seems to be based in South Florida that does abstract illustrations as well as artwork of well-known franchises. What's most notable about her artwork is her use of bright and rich artwork and somewhat varied style, based on the subject of the work. Some of her art is shown below.



While I do believe her fanart is a bit unrefined in comparison to her more abstract works, I do find her art enjoyable to look at, and she has a lot of potential.I especially like Ice Cream City, which you can buy on her Etsy store here. Her latest painting on her Instagram of a dragon and woman flying over a field and village is quite beautiful, in my opinion.

Unfortunately at PalmCon, I was a bit tight on money and only bought a small print of the Pokemon Gastly for my friend Selah, which she deeply enjoyed.

If you like Ms. Aguilar's artwork as much as I do, you can check out her work on her website, FacebookInstagram, and Etsy,  I look forward to seeing what she has in store next.

- Mara (previously Angela)

Online Spotlight: Cucumber Quest by Gigi Digi

Sunday, May 31, 2015
Posted by Starships and Dragons
Howdy, my darlings. I’m back again with another review on some sort of reading material!. Only this time, things will be a little bit different. I’m not here to tell you about a book. I’m here to tell you about a webcomic that I’ve been very into lately.

Cucumber Quest is a comic written and drawn by Gigi Digi that follows the adventures of a young bunny-boy named Cucumber and his several bunny friends. This includes characters such as Almond, Cucumber’s younger sister (and, personally, my favorite character), the noble Sir Carrot, and other great friends that they meet along the way. They all have bunny ears. It’s adorable. But I’ll gush about that a little bit later. 

The plot of the story is really interesting. Cucumber must save the world from (supposedly) certain DOOM. The evil Nightmare Knight has been resurrected, and Cucumber is the Legendary Hero who must stop not only the Nightmare Knight, but his Disaster Masters as well. I won’t go into too much detail on the plot because, I mean, you should definitely go read it and see it for yourselves, but, nevertheless, it’s great. 

Aside from the story, I’d like to talk about the style of the comic. Not just the art, but the way it is written. The way the characters talk to each other is great; there’s such a lighthearted tone. It’s very endearing and just adorable all around while still taking into account when things get serious. There are plenty of humorous moments, and the characters are very well written to accommodate the light tone. You'll meet such a wide variety of personalities along the way that have all found a way to wedge themselves into your heart in the best ways possible.

Now, I could gush for hours about how absolutely adorable the art is in this comic. The generally bright colors are very eye catching and all of the characters are just the best. All of the characters are basically bunny people. They all have bunny ears. All of them. It’s great. 

The art in general is amazing, but one thing that I really enjoyed were some pages having to do with the a few of the Disaster Masters. One in particular was specifically memorable to me. Mutemaster had the power to remove sound. And the artist, instead of just removing the dialogue from the frames, found a very interesting way to incorporate this effect into the art itself which was a thing I had never seen before. It was an amazing idea and I loved it. This doesn’t only happen with Mutemaster, but I’m not going into the other Masters who I’ve seen do this kind of thing. 

I think this is just about the end of my fangirling. I hope you enjoyed this review. I highly recommend reading Cucumber Quest. It is, however, ongoing, so the story has yet to reach a conclusion. It currently updates at least three times a week. 

If you’d like to read, which you definitely should, you can go here to start from the beginning.

Danielle, signing off!

Underrated Books: Itch

Sunday, February 1, 2015
Posted by Starships and Dragons
 Hey, it's Danielle, and welcome back to my amazing world of book reviews!! This time I will be reviewing a book called Itch: The Explosive Adventures of an Element Hunter, written by Simon Mayo.


I would recommend this book to literally anyone, although it may be a little more enjoyable to younger readers. However, this book isn't a total sci-fi/fantasy adventure in another world.

This book takes place in the real world: Cornwall, England to be exact. The main protagonist is Itchingham Lofte ( known as Itch), a 14-year-old boy with a very extraordinary hobby: hunting the elements. Needless to say, he comes across quite a few mishaps along the way; Explosions, fires, minor illnesses, serious injuries, some death maybe?

As pretty much everyone knows, there are quite a few elements that are WAAAY too dangerous to just have. Mainly the insanely radioactive ones. But what could possibly be wrong with this suspiciously warm rock? It can't be too bad, right? Needless to say, it gets pretty crazy. The book is filled with tons of action and quite a bit of adventure as we follow Itch, his cousin Jack, and his little sister Chloe. You also get to briefly meet his "dealer," Cake, although he isn't in the story too long. Itch and friends encounter many challenges trying to protect this amazing(ly dangerous) "rock" from people who want it for all the wrong reasons.

While there are definitely some hardships to overcome, they pull through well enough. This is, however, only the first book in a trio. While I have not had the time to read the second and third installments in the exciting life of Itchingham Lofte, I will definitely be checking back in once I have.

Stay tuned for Itch Rocks and Itchcraft! -Danielle

Adventure Bar Story: Capitalism Meets JRPGs

Wednesday, December 17, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons
I was never much of a mobile gamer. Most of the games on my tablet or phone are rhythm games or visual novels. My main genre of video games, RPGs, has a very limited presence on the iOS or Google Play store. Even more than that, there was an apparent lack of management RPGs.

And then, I found Adventure Bar Story.

Adventure Bar Story is a management RPG where you play as a girl named Siela trying to stop her family bar from closing. You can attain other characters to join your party, sans your sister Kamerina who stays at the bar. Among these are Fred, Siela's greedy childhood friend who runs the local store, Alfine, a talented wizard-in-training with a penchant for sweets, and Alter, an adventurer who often visits the bar and gets drunk.

 The game combines qualities of a typical JRPG and mashes it together with a simpler version of Cooking Mama. To keep your bar alive, you need to cook dishes to put on the menu to earn money and enter contests. To cook dishes, you have to collect ingredients in dungeons, where monsters can also drop ingredients. To progress and succeed in dungeons without dying, characters have to eat dishes to gain experience and level up. When there are certain ingredients that you do not have, you have to use money to buy from stores, especially Fred's store (who only helps you so you can buy from him anyway).

The battle system is a typical turn-based attack and guard system. During battle, you may use skills that aid our characters in some way. To get these skills, you have to gain certain types of EP, which replaces the experience monsters typically give you. Most characters share skills, though some may be exclusive to one (for example, Alter is the only one who is able to get drunk and use special drunken skills). Eating certain foods will have special effects in battle, though only the dish a character has most recently eaten is the only effect that they have on them.

The cooking itself is rather simplistic. Get ingredients, have the cooking utensil, and use the recipe. Recipes have to be bought or guessed. As you get new ingredients, you will unlock hint recipes, which are recipes that have an ingredient that is unknown, and you must guess it to be able to cook the dish. You can also use jewels, which is the typical currency you can be with actual money, to unlock these recipes or let you cook a dish. You then place it on the menu, where Kamerina sells it.

Adventure Bar Story is a rather simplistic and somewhat addicting JRPG. It has a very classic style of gameplay with likable characters. As someone who enjoys collecting items in games, it's really satisfying getting more and more recipes. The dungeons are fairly difficult if you aren't leveled enough, and you're constantly motivated to go cook and get ingredients to level up. It's the type of game that would be fun for casual gamers and completionists.

There are a fair amount of flaws, though. The soundtrack isn't fun, the text is littered with typos, controls don't always function the way they should, and it's tedious to backtrack to earlier dungeons to get ingredients there. And the game forces you to make needlessly costly dishes and buy ingredients from Fred to succeed (that capitalistic, greedy jerk). There are times where I've had to stop because the game was frustratingly unwilling to do what it should.

Even so, I do recommend this game to people who enjoy RPGs. The price of the game is somewhat reasonable for its quality (currently, it is $3.25 on the Google Play Store and $2.99 on the App Store). Adventure Bar Story is fun in its own little niche. If you're not a friend of mobile games, Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale on Windows has a very similar theme. You won't be wasting your time.

Hope you guys have a great day. -Angela

Smaller Stories: The Little Prince

Monday, July 28, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons

I have recently read a book called Wartime Writings, 1939-1944 in English by a man called Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. I thought the name sounded familiar but didn't think much of it until I read the introduction. To my surprise, he was actually the author of one of my favorite childhood stories, The Little Prince.

The Little Prince is a novella written and illustrated by aviator and write Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, and is his most famous work. It is the third most sold book in the world with about 140 million copies sold. I personally had forgotten about this small treasure until a couple of years ago, when I came across a cover of the Japanese song Little Traveler, which was apparently based off The Little Prince.
The story begins with the narrator (who is based on Saint-Exupéry himself) recollecting an event in his childhood, when he drew a boa constrictor that consumed an elephant. When he showed grown-ups the picture, they said it was a hat (I thought it looked like the humps on a camel, personally). He then drew another picture showing the inside of the boa; the grown-ups rebuffed him and told him to focus on other things, like geography. Now a pilot, the narrator is stranded in the Sahara Desert after his plane malfunctioned. He soon encounters a little man, who asks him to draw a sheep. The narrator draws again the boa, who surprisingly recognizes the drawing as a boa digesting an elephant, but rejects it and demands a sheep. The narrator draws several sheep that the small man reject before he draws a box, saying the sheep is inside it. This is apparently what the man, whom the narrator calls the little prince, wanted.

Over the next eight days, the narrator fixes his plane while the little prince talks about his life. He is originally from an asteroid that is no bigger than a house, and has three tiny volcanoes and some plants. He talks about a rose that suddenly grew on his planet, and he had fallen in love with it. The rose was very vain and prideful, and soon enough the little prince felt taken advantage of, though he loved her. He decided to leave his planet to explore the universe, and the rose apologized; still, she urged him on. The prince then visited six other asteroids, all which had a foolish grown-up. He then lands on Earth, and learns many things.

While it is technically a children's book, The Little Prince has a very philosophical view, and lingers and observes many human mannerisms. It is known and accepted that much of the book is based on Saint-Exupéry's own life, including the rose and the little prince himself. I have always experienced a weird sense of nostalgia, even when I first read it.

It is hard to explain without experiencing firsthand what the book is like in its many layers, so I recommend that you read it. If you're reading this in English, I suggest the Katherine Woods translation; while it is the oldest version, I think it captures the essence of the original French perfectly compared to the more recent translations, and it is the version I have in English. If you have read The Little Prince, I recommend Robert F. Young's short stories (I have recently covered one of them in an earlier post). I also think The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and Abarat by Clive Parker feel quite similar to this novella, so read it if you want a longer experience.

Unfortunately, Saint-Exupéry disappeared at the end of July in 1944, during WWII while on duty, and is presumed dead. I decided to write this in his memory. While he is no longer here, his works, especially The Little Prince has taught many moral lessons, and showed us how life should be lived. I hope his memory lingers for centuries to come.

Live freely, readers. -Angela

9 Video Games You've Probably Haven't Played (Or Heard Of)

Friday, July 25, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons
With franchises like the Legend of Zelda, Mass Effect, and Call of Duty making the headlines, there are many games that are ignored or overlooked entirely. So I want to call to attention some fantasy and sci-fi related video games games that weren't seen, but still deserve some recognition.

Keep in mind that this list is in no particular order, and some of them (actually, a lot of them) aren't for everybody, but they are games I've enjoyed, so I am personally biased towards them. This is particularly obvious when you realize the majority of the list are JRPGs. So without further ado, let's begin.

1. Rune Factory Series


Systems: DS, 3DS, Wii, PS3

Play if: You enjoy the Harvest Moon series or want a simulation game where you can also fight monsters.

Rune Factory is a spin-off of the moderately successful Harvest Moon franchise, where you play as a farmer working towards some goal (usually saving the town that you're living in). However, you are instead placed into a fantasy universe, and the usual system of purchasing animals is replaced with taming monsters. There are many colorful characters and races, including a wealthy human girl that speaks in opposites, a Univir (a horned species that resembles elves) elder woman who hates humans, a half-elf boy that that also hates humans, a female butler who tends to fall asleep, and a pair of girls who look like each other with the same name and are sort of vampires.
She actually likes you. Really.

Just like in Harvest Moon, you can farm, interact with the villagers in your town, and eventually marry. All installments feature a male protagonists, but only recently can you play as a female and woo the guy of your dreams (there is a slight exception in Rune Factory 2, but it doesn't really count). You may then have a child, though they tend not to have a big role (Again, there is an exception with Rune Factory 2).

I personally recommend Rune Factory 2 on the DS. It's my favorite installment in the series. However, if you want something a little more recent, you should play Rune Factory 4. The characters are interesting, and the story line is pretty good.

2. Zero Escape Series


Systems: DS, 3DS, PS Vita

Play if: You enjoy somewhat difficult puzzle games, visual novels, plot twists, and being under a form of stress.

The Zero Escape series has been praised wildly for its plot, and it's not hard to see why. In the first installment, 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, you play a college student named Junpei who is kidnapped and placed on a slowly sinking ship with 8 other people, and will have to play the 'Nonary Game' and work with them to find a door labelled 9 in nine hours to escape and live. The second game, Zero Escape: Virtue's Last Reward, starts similarly, where a college student named Sigma is kidnapped and placed in an elevator with a woman named Phi. They escape and find 7 other people, and they are all forced to play the 'Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition'.

In both games, you are equipped with bracelets. In the first game, they allow you to know which characters can enter which door. In the second, reaching nine 'Bracelet Points' allows you to escape. While both games do not immediately appear to have any unnatural phenomena, it becomes clear, at least near the end, what is really going on. The games are addicting, and both feature different endings based on the player's decision, so they have replayable value. It requires you to think, but you'll feel satisfied when you solve the problems. All in all, it's an enjoyable series that'll make you want to play both of them.

3. Weapon Shop de Omasse


Systems: 3DS

Play if: You want to play a JRPG-referencing, self-aware game, or have a quirky sense of humor and have time to spend.

Depending on who you are, you'll either love Weapon Shop de Omasse or you'll think that it's just not fun. And it's understandable why. You play a blacksmith forging the weapons of the heroic figures who will be taking on the quests to defeat the Evil Lord.

This game was delayed for a long time due to dialogue translation. de Omasse is text heavy, and although it's a rhythm game, there is much more to do than tap your screen to shape metal. You have to familiarize yourself with your customers to make their perfect weapon, and you can check on their progress while they're out adventuring through an in-game version of Twitter.

As Destructoid has described it, de Omasse is 'a niche within a niche'. The game is definitely unusual, in its dialogue and gameplay. Some may find the humor lacking and the work tedious. The music isn't all that great. But it is certainly a game that will charm at least a target group of gamers. If this sounded a little bit intriguing, then you should try it.

4. The Last Remnant


Systems: Xbox 360, PC (retail and Steam)

Play if: you like turn-based battle systems, have generally good luck and a PC, or want to see a new fantasy world.

In all honesty, The Last Remnant isn't terribly good. You control Rush Sykes, who is trying to find his little sister Irina, and meet several characters who decide to help him.

The visual style is very unique and beautiful, and is one of the game's best points. The fantasy world that Last Remnant takes place is extremely distinct from any other, and it's enhanced by a beautiful soundtrack. Battles feature a turn-based system with unions, groups of 3-5 people led by a general. However, much of it is based entirely on luck; even with high levels, you may not survive some encounters due to chance. The PC version is apparently a vast improvement on the Xbox version, although I've never seen the Xbox version.


There are many things wrong with The Last Remnant that can't be overlooked. It's a little clunky, there are slow loading times, and screens are a cluttered mess. The battle system is fun, but after a while it gets repetitive and annoying; who knows how many times I've restarted because of my bad luck. Even so, for its price (it's $10 USD on Steam), The Last Remnant is something you should possibly consider.

5. Eternal Sonata


Systems: Xbox 360, PS3

Play if: You like classical music, want to try a different battle system, or just want to try out a new RPG.

Eternal Sonata is one of those games that is beautifully strange. The game takes place in the mind of Frédéric Chopin, who is lying on his deathbed, where he envisions a fantastical world influenced by his life. In it, he meets a sick young girl named Polka. The two travel together and meet many people and uncover a great conspiracy.

This game legitimately made me cry. It is absolutely beautiful and stunning. Along with an astounding soundtrack (which includes several compositions of Chopin), the voice acting is wonderful and the graphics are quite pretty. The battle system changes every time you go into battle; it is turn-based, including 3 members with each character's turn starting with 'Tactical Time' to decide what to do, and ending with an amount of time for the character to complete their actions.

My only problems with Eternal Sonata lie with its duration. Not only is it short, but the game is extremely linear, even painfully so for a JRPG. Still, this game is still one I highly recommend you check out. It is just beautiful.

6. Contact


Systems: DS

Play if: Like karma systems, games that break the fourth wall, and like weird space dogs (shh, he thinks he's a cat)

Despite few copies being sold, Contact may legitimately touch you, as it did me. In it, a scientist only known as the Professor is fleeing from a mysterious terrorist group known as CosmoNOTS (Cosmic Nihilist Organization for Terror). He lands next to Terry, a young teenage boy sleeping on a bench, skipping school, and has him run quickly inside his spaceship. They land on an unknown planet, losing the ship's 'cells', gem-like objects that act as a power source, and Terry agrees to help the Professor collect them while exploring the planet; the thing is... He isn't helping him. You are.

Most the game's main characters, sans Terry, are aware of your existence. The Professor directly breaks the fourth wall to communicate with the player, understanding you are helping by playing a game. The gameplay is split into two screens; the bottom screen is the player controlling Terry and continuing through the game, while the top screen show the Professor in his lab, who gives advice and funny, offhand comments that sometimes references other video games. The Professor will invent decals that can assist the player in attacking, healing, etc. Costumes can also be found that will give Terry special powers (cooking, lockpicking, etc.). Battle mode can be switched into, and is played real time. Terry has different stats, including some that can determine how NPCs react to him.

This game first came out when I was in the middle of elementary school, and it legitimately put me in awe. The battle system is nice, and I spent hours completely all the sidequests and getting as many weapons as I could. The dialogue was witty, even though there are several grammatical errors. I liked collecting all of the 'girlfriends', meeting new NPCs (My favorite is Nadia), discovering new lands; there's so much to experience. Of course, there are annoyances and flaws. The battle system can be hard and repetitive, and the game sometimes doesn't tell you what to do (I literally spent about two hours beating a boss before the Professor told me how to make it easier, and that's my most recent playthrough). Terry's hair always bothered me, because it's brown in-game while it's really black. I suggest you to play it, even if it's older.

7. Risk of Rain


Systems: PC, PS Vita (Upcoming)

Play if: You work well under pressure, and enjoy side scrolling platformers.

Funded by Kickstarter and created by two university students, Risk of Rain is an action platformer shooter where the player is a survivor of a space train crash on a mysterious planet. The game is unique as the difficulty escalates as time goes on, giving a sense of urgency and pressure.

The game is almost entirely randomized, from the map to the spawn location to even the location of the bosses. Risk of Rain is extremely difficult, and it's impossible not to die several times before you get the hang of it. There are ten characters with different skills and benefits to them to help the player along. Also, there are over 100 items that have different effects, and all of them are beneficial.

This game was originally not on my list, but was suggested by the president of this club. It was, he said, "F***ing hard." And it's true. You will absolutely die. But that does not mean it isn't fun. Its rogue-like elements are great, and its old-school style is charming. It's fun and absolutely worth all the time you may put into it.

8. Costume Quest


Systems: PC, Linux, Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, PS3

Play if: You want something short, easy, and cute

Originally released around Halloween, Costume Quest is a quirky yet simplistic game. You play one of two fraternal twins (it's your choice who you want to play as) on Halloween, saving their sibling when they're kidnapped by a monster while trick-or-treating.

During battle, the character's costume transform into larger versions to fight. The system itself is turn-based. Like in a typical RPG, you can collect more party members and complete quests. However, it's very simplistic and easy, and can be treated like a childish RPG. The characters are nice and the story is interesting enough.

There are a few flaws, obviously. It can get very repetitive, and there's really no difficulty in playing it. Any really serious RPGers can pay it no mind. The music is a bit forgettable. The biggest flaw in Costume Quest is its length; it is extremely short, and the main game can be played in a few hours. Even so, the game is interesting enough. It can be played at all ages, so I especially recommend it to children.

9. Trace Memory/Another Code: Two Memories


Systems: DS

Play if: You want an interesting, old adventure without a lot of thought.

Cing was one of my favorite video game developers for the DS; unfortunately, they filed for bankruptcy a few years back. Trace Memory, as this game was known in North America, was the first game I played that was made by them. In it, you play young Ashley Mizuki Robbins, who goes to Blood Edward Island in search of her father, Richard. He was presumed dead when she was a baby, along with her mother, Sayoko.

Ashley is given a DAS, an obvious spoof of the DS (it even looks like the original DS), which only reacts to her. It acts as the game's menu, and can be used to take pictures. They also read DAS cards, which contain information about the plot and the island, On the island, she meets a ghost named D, who has lost his memories. Trace Memory is a point-and-click adventure game. The camera during movement is kept in an aerial view. The touch screen is mainly used. Puzzles are scattered throughout the game, and must be solved to progress. Most use DS capabilities, like the microphone and touch screen.

Trace Memory was one of the games my older sister would not let me play until 3 years after we got it. At the time, puzzles were quite difficult. However, I have now realized that they are actually quite easy. I can now finish the game in a few hours without much trouble. It has almost become tedious to play, and there is little replay value after you finish playing the game. Even so, it still is a fun experience, and the plot is very interesting with an intriguing vibe. If you don't mind playing something a bit older, I definitely suggest you play this.

Games are an engaging experience that many people experience. I hope you will want to try one of these games, too.

Until another time, Angela

Smaller Stories: The Dandelion Girl

Monday, June 30, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons

"Day before yesterday I saw a rabbit, yesterday a deer, and today, you."

Robert F. Young, a lesser known science fiction writer in the 20th century, died on June 22. As he's the author of one of my favorite short stories, I wanted to write something about him (I'm a week late, but I've always been a procrastinator).

Dandelion Girl is one of Young's, if not the most, famous story of his. It has influenced the anime RahXephon and is referenced several times in the visual novel Clannad.

The novel is about a married, middle-aged man named Mark Randolph. He goes on vacation, which he only has twice a year, to a nearby rural area alone (his wife, Anne, has jury duty, and their son is at college), and meets a young woman with dandelion-colored hair wearing a white dress named Julie Danvers on the hilltop there. She informs him that she is from the year 2201, using the time machine her father made. Mark does not believe her, but goes along, partially because of her smile. They talk for a few more hours before leaving. The next few days, he goes up to the hill and meets Julie, who wears a different colored dress, and they talk for hours about their mutual interests.

Well, that's as far as I can get without spoiling it. It's honestly something you have to read to experience. Although I've read stories very similar to this, The Dandelion Girl has touched me in a poignant way, similar to, say, the French novella The Little Prince (which I'll talk about another time). The language is slightly dated, considering it is from the 1960s, but the message still gets across.
If you have read The Dandelion Girl, then I'd recommend you to read some of his other short stories. Star Mother has a very similar vibe, and is about a woman whose son becomes a 'star', or an outer-space vigil for the American government. L'Arc De Jeanne is about Joan of Arc in an extraterrestrial scenario. His novel The Last Yggdrasil is about several people wanting to cut down the last world tree (referencing Yggdrasil, the tree in Norse mythology where all the worlds are located and the home to many beings).


If reading isn't your thing, but you like video games, the RPG To The Moon has the same type of atmosphere and is more tragic. It's short and doesn't exactly have great dialogue, gameplay, or world design, but it will make you cry. Like The Dandelion Girl, you have to play it to understand why it's good.

While Young wasn't quite recognized while he was alive, his stories are still touching. I strongly encourage you to read his stories; they are beautiful.

May I see you again, Angela

Underrated Books: The Jack Blank Series

Friday, June 20, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons

I am here to sing the praises of an amazing book series that is fairly unknown to many people in the world today. This series has everything: sci-fi, fantasy, action, adventure, romance, and every other thing someone could look for in a book. I am, of course, talking about the Jack Blank series. I will admit, this name isn't all that exciting; I assure you, it is.
So, there are a few things in this series that I value over others. First and foremost, I absolutely ADORE the choice of the main villains in this series. Throughout, the main foe of our heroes are the Rüstov which are basically freaking ROBO-ZOMBIES. Not exactly, like there are things that would probably say otherwise, but that's the simplest way I can describe them. Now, I know not everyone loves robots or zombies as much as I do, but dude. Together?! At once?! How can you NOT love that?!

I mean, they're villains, so I hate them, but I love the idea of them! Zombies are basically humans, but with no brain functions other than EAT. They get an arm ripped off, they keep going because they want meat. They can rip through another person like paper. THAT'S AWESOME. And they're also freaking robots: emotionless, hard to destroy, killing machines! If there's a robot after you and its specific function is to kill, it's unlikely you'll survive.
the Rüstov have several abilities, like, if they lose a limb or something, they can take someone else's limb and attach it to their body to be their own! And they can also transfer from body to body. One single Rüstov can go from one gross decaying body to another healthy practically fresh body. That's kind of how the Rüstov hierarchy works. The fresher whatever host body you were using was, the higher up you were because it meant you just had endless bodies to switch between.
In the books, I like how they had this whole group of villains, enough to fill thousands of pages, and there were still other enemies. There were other struggles ou heroes had to overcome than just fighting robo-zombies.
I would just like to make that, while this series has romance,it isn't a driving force behind the book. I mean, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of books that are amazing and are driven pretty largely by romance,and there are plenty of opportunities for it to happen in this series, but it doesn't happen because it would take away from the main plot. One of my personal ships sailed at the end of the book, but it was so unimportant to the main action that it wasn't even addressed until the end and everything was good. I think this was a good choice because it would've distracted from the important action. And when it happened after the fact, it was so much better because you knew that they would actually get to be together!And I was so much happier because of it
The majority of the series happens in a place called The Imagine Nation. Yes. That's the name. This place, as stated in the book, can only be found when you're not looking for it. And in this place lives literally every being that has ever been imagined.
The Imagine Nation is separated into different sections: The Vargog, a 'place of the past' (it's like medieval times with queens, knights, wizards, etc.); Machina, a 'place of the future' (full of robots and androids. They don't get along with Vargog all that much); Cognito, a 'place for hiding' (Cognito is a very mysterious place. If you don't know exactly where to be and when to be there, you'll get lost easily and often); Hightown, home of the world's tallest skyscrapers and the HQ of SmartCorp (a company that you will develop a distaste for, much as I have); Karateka, a fusion of ancient  and modern China (it's the home to many martial arts masters and ninjas); Galaxis, a space port(it's full of different aliens and creatures from all over the universe); Seasonstill Park, where each section of the park is permanently stuck in a certain season; and Hero Square, a monumentous plaza that is frequently visited by citizens of Empire City. It is also the meeting place of The Inner Circle, which is a group of people who defend The Imagine Nation.
All in all, the Jack Blank series written by Matt Myklusch is a MASTERPIECE. It's a phenomenal trilogy, and I think it deserves way more recognition than it gets. Read it!

See ya later, Danielle

Camp NaNoWriMo has Begun for April 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons

Amidst the April Fools announcements of Google seeking a Pokémon Master and Amazon's new Kindle Paperscent, a semiannual writing session has quietly begun.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is an annual creative writing program where participants around the world (in contradiction to its name) are challenged to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. The contest has experienced a positive reaction, with the website's about page stating, "341,375 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists." Even famous author John Green had participated in this (albeit 4 years ago).

Since 2011, the website has also offered a friendly 'camp' session during the months of July and April in 2014 for anyone to write a novel in a month; the difference is, the word limit is chosen by the user. Everyone may opt to be part of a 'cabin' with up to 10 other people based on settings one would have chosen for encouragement and advice. Each cabin has a message board that can only be seen by members of that cabin.

This will be the first year I will be participating in anything NaNoWriMo related, and frankly, I'm quite excited. I am opting to write a collection of events I have witnessed through a car/train window, which I hope will sharpen my writing skills in the first person POV. It's a great first step to begin writing. You don't even have to impress anyone; just start.

I hope to see more people participate in the project. Who knows? I may even become cabin mates with any of you viewing this sometime soon.

À bientôt! - Angela

Wolverine: By Old Man Logan. A Must Read.

Saturday, February 8, 2014
Posted by Starships and Dragons
Old Man Logan tells the story of how superheroes fail and after 50 years, bad guys have taken over and split the country into four parts. The only true superhero still alive is Wolverine who has vowed to never kill again. Hawkeye asks Wolverine to come on mission. Wolverine does it to get money for rent so the Hulk gang doesn’t kill his wife and kids. This story line is filled with many twist and turns. I highly recommend it to any Wolverine or X-Men fans. I promise you this graphic novel will keep you on the edge of your sit, even if you’re not a fan of Wolverine. This is definitely in my top favorite graphic novels. It’s a total must read.
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