Tag Archives: Titan Quest

December 2008: Some Comments

31 Dec

Books

  • Jo Beverley – Christmas Angel
  • Suzanne Brockmann – Body Language
  • Kristin Hardy – Bad Behaviour
  • Kristin Hardy – Hot Moves
  • Julie James – Just the Sexiest Man Alive

beverley-jo-christmas-angelJo Beverley – Christmas Angel

A marriage of convenience
This is book # 3 in the “Company of Rogues” series and while some of the characters from the previous novels appear 1) they are actually integral to the story and 2) Christmas Angel is well able to stand on its own. It’s the story of Leander, Earl of Charrington, who “wants a home, a wife and a good old-fashioned English Christmas.” Thanks to the marriage of his parents, he’s afraid to fall in love – he honestly believes he just can’t – and so he looks for a sensible wife who isn’t likely to fall in love with him either. Enter Judith Rossiter, a impoverished widow with two young children. She has a reputation for having loved her late husband a lot and after his death, she is known as the “Weeping Widow.” Judith can’t turn down Leander’s proposal for the sake of her children, and they enter into a marriage of convenience.
I enjoyed reading how the characters adjusted to each other. Leander is a few years younger than Judith for example (not much of an issue but I liked it), and Judith worries about doing the right thing. After all, marriage means giving someone a lot of power over herself and her children. I liked this part of the story the most. Later, the focus shifts to the mystery surrounding Leander’s inheritance, and there are more revelations about Judith’s poet husband. But despite the title, it’s only at the end that the “Christmas spirit” invades the story a bit much.

Grade: 4 / 5

~ * ~

brockmann-suzanne-body-languageSuzanne Brockmann – Body Language

Friends-turned-lovers
I bought this one because I liked Kiss and Tell. It’s a friends-turned-lovers story and it’s quite sweet. If there is one drawback, it’s that both characters are actually in love before the story starts. One of them for years, while the other realized it only recently. So the realization part is actually over before the story starts. But there are still quite a few awh!-moments to be had because before Clint can say anything, Sandy tells him she’s in love with someone (figuring she would always just be seen as a good friend by Clint). He agrees to help her get that man, wanting the best for her, and so he teaches her about body language. There are quite a few fun scenes and despite Clint being and expert on body language, the mis-communications continue. At the end, they got a bit much and I wondered why they didn’t talk about what was happening. I mean, they ruined their friendship with pretending to be lovers and I don’t think they once voiced concerns about the potential for that when they got into it. But all in all, a good and nice read.

Grade: 4 / 5

~ * ~

hardy-kristin-bad-behaviourKristin Hardy – Bad Behaviour

Second chance at love
This is the sixth and the last book in the mini-series “Sex and the Supper Club” by Kristin Hardy about six girlfriends making their way in life and finding love. Delaney Phillips held out the longest of the women, always on the lookout for fun and leaving the men before it could get ugly or hurtful. On a vacation, she meets her first boyfriend, Dom Gordon, by accident (and you could make the case that her way to deal with men comes in part from that time). They spent a few wonderful days full of fun and sex, and for Delaney, that’s all that it is supposed to be. But Dom, even though he has a lot on his plate with his expanding business, doesn’t want it to end just like that, so after some time, they resume their affair again back home.
This was a fun read. I probably liked it a bit less than Hot Moves but this could easily have to do with the fact that I read them both on the same day and Hot Moves was the first that I read. Incidentally, the heroines are nearly opposites in the way they deal with men. Delaney, always the one to leave, and Thea, the heroine from Hot Moves, always the one unable to leave.

Grade: 4 / 5

~ * ~

hardy-kristin-hot-movesKristin Hardy – Hot Moves

A one-night stand turned into something more
This is the fifth entry in Kristin Hardy’s “Sex and the Supper Club.” As always, the other women of the “Sex and Supper Club” are part of the story, but it’s not like you need to have read the previous novels to read this one. Thea just turned thirty and her one wish is for her to get her life back on track. She worked as a model in her past but something happened in New York, and she turned her back on that life and now works “Mcjobs” to keep her occupied even though she doesn’t need the money. A call from a friend leads her to Portland to help that friend with her dance studio. Dancing was the first and is now the only passion of Thea’s life. There she meets Brady and – totally blown away by the instant attraction between them – she has a one-night stand. Only, Brady doesn’t see it that way, for that it was way too good. But there is something in Thea’s past that made her swear off men – she has a clean record of always picking the wrong man and Brady shows all the signs to be one of those controlling assholes.
I really liked this story. Their first meeting and their instant attraction – very good. And despite the short page count, there was enough room to deal with Thea’s issues with men in an satisfying way.

Grade: 4 / 5

~ * ~

james-julie-just-the-sexiest-man-aliveJulie James – Just The Sexiest Man Alive

Lawyer meets movie star
Overall, I liked this story. I had a few problems with Taylor. Her sarcasm seemed too forced at times and in general, I felt there was a bit too much “nudge-nudge, look-look” going on with Taylor’s character (especially for the first half). I also wondered a bit about her willingness (and having the time) to be seen repeatedly with several celebrities when she’s in trail.
That said, I loved the beginning of the novel. The cross-examination scene of Jason is great. Taylor’s reluctance to be impressed by Jason was understandable – she had already done the womanizing-man thing, so no. I thought the middle part a bit sagging and off. But the last few chapters, reminiscent of Notting Hill IMO, made up for that. Jason’s line, “Not this time, Taylor. No sarcasm.” Awwh.

Grade: 3,5 / 5 (for the sagging middle part)

~ * ~

Comments planned*:
– Ann Aguirre – Grimspace
– Lisa Kleypas – Devil in Winter
– Sherry Thomas – Private Arrangements
– and look at this:

laurens-stephanie-a-secret-love_draft

Stephanie Laurens – A Secret Love – draft written on December, 4!

If A Secret Love wouldn’t be a re-read, I probably would need to read it again to finish writing that draft.

* We’ll see how that turns out!

Games

Shadow Hearts: From the New World (PS2)

see: Currently Playing: “Shadow Hearts – From the New World”

~ * ~

Civilization 3

Yes, I’m trying for a Deity game in Civ 3. So far, no chance because I don’t even manage to get a decent starting location. I have started over 10 games now and I always – always – end up with the worst starting location for my civilization compared to the AI’s starting locations. No water, no iron, no luxury in my immediate surroundings. I play til the Middle Ages come around and then I’m so ticked off that I quit and start new. I mean, is it too much to ask for at least a decent starting location and not the worst when I’m already heavily handicapped on this difficulty level? Bah!

~ * ~

Titan Quest

Finished this game on the first difficulty level. I don’t think I’ll play the other two. I liked it but (at the moment) I don’t want to take the time to really get into it like I did with the similar Diablo 2. Titan Quest is more comfortable in the gameplay than Diablo 2 (it’s also not as “old”) but something is missing. I don’t know. My Grade would probably be 4/5 or 4+/5.

Also:

titan-quest-next-difficulty-level

For all my troubles I just get this measly info window informing me I made the next difficulty level?
Meh!

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September 2008: More Comments

2 Oct

*** Books ***

  • India Grey – Angelo’s Captive Virgin : comment below
  • Laura Kinsale – The Prince of Midnight : half-finished draft
  • Liz Maverick – Wired : nearly finished draft
  • Debra Salonen – His Brother’s Secret : comment below


India Grey – Angelo’s Captive Virgin

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Presents, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: I wasn’t completely convinced with the first novel I read by Grey, but I thought her a good writer so I wanted to try one of her other novels.


The back blurb:
“Italian tycoon Angelo Emiliani wants to buy Anna’s French château, but it seems she’ll do anything to stop him. So he’ll take Anna captive on his yacht, and show her he’s not to be toyed with.
But as cabin fever sets in, passions erupt, and Anna realizes the price of stopping Angelo has just gotten higher. Now there’s more at stake than saving the château–Anna’s at risk of losing her virginity, and more!”


First off, I liked Angelo’s Captive Virgin (ACV) better than The Italian’s Defiant Mistress. This time, the heroine’s behavior isn’t just dictated by plot reasons. I liked that ACV is a story about identity: Anna doesn’t really know who she is (she’s in search of her “passion”) and Angelo is an orphan with no knowledge about his parents. At the end of the novel, they both found answers. I also liked the fairy tale allusions in the story and I think they gave the structure of the story an extra something.

But I also had some problems. There were some things I either see as annoying romance speak (e.g. “scuffing the gravel with the toe of her little green pump” – p. 9, emphasis mine) or “silly” (referring to long legs on a woman who’s height is five foot three), and the yacht episode nearly made me put the novel down, but what made me really uncomfortable when I thought about its RL implications was that Anna’s search for her identity came to an end after she met Angelo. He was her passion and that was that. Such a love sounds nice on the surface and Anna learns a few things about herself, but I had the impression that there was nothing else besides Angelo for Anna. Combined with the fairy tale vibe of the story, it was an uncomfortable fit, IMO.


Would I recommend this novel? Probably yes.
Would I read this novel again? Maybe.
Grade: 4 / 5 (The grade reflects my enjoyment of the novel on the story level (first paragraph).



Debra Salonen – His Brother’s Secret

GENRE: Romance / Contemporary
PUBLISHED: Harlequin Super Romance, 2008

WHY THIS NOVEL: The summary sounded like this would be a friends-turned-lovers/unrequited love story.


The back blurb:
“In college, Shane Reynard lacked the nerve to tell Jenna Murphy how he felt, Now with all his Hollywood success behind him, lack of nerve is not what holds him back. When his latest TV show lands him in Jenna’s hometown, he offers her a place on his writing team. Too bad spending a lot of time with her reminds Shane of every single thing he liked about her.
But as much as Shane wants to fall for her, there’s a family secret he has to confess first. And once she knows the truth, there’s a real chance Jenna will never want to see Shane’s face again.”


His Brother’s Secrets is one of the instances where I end up liking the novel I read just so I can read a series in order (Baby by Contract) better than the one I wanted to read in the first place (His Brother’s Secret). I thought the story was written well, my problem was that there was just so much going on.

First, there is the secret that both Jenna and Shane have to deal with, then there’s Jenna’s mother, the way Jenna’s father influenced/still influences Jenna’s life, Shane’s I’m-not-worthy-because-my-twin-was-BAD, the TV series business – it was just too much. A lot of these issues are rather serious and because there are a lot and most of them are dealt with rather fast – Shane is in Sentinel Pass for about a week – they didn’t (and couldn’t have) the impact they deserved. Also, this time my “would this really happen like that?” question with the TV angle kept popping up (which is of course just my impression, I know nothing about that, but it was there).

So, to sum it up: I liked this novel less than the first book in this series; I’m not sure if I’ll read the next one in this series, mostly because I’m not completely on board with the TV series part.


Would I recommend this novel? Maybe.
Would I read this novel again? Probably not.
Grade: 3 / 5


*** Games ***

  • Persona 3 (PS 2)
  • Titan Ques (PC)

Persona 3

I’m still working on fusing all the Personas I can in this game. I need 5 more and then I finally can go and see the good ending. Of course, if I wouldn’t be so weird (compulsive) with getting all done that’s possible in games, I could have seen the second ending weeks ago… There are also 5 Personas I can’t fuse in this playthrough because I screwed up the maxing of the social links.

Titan Quest

My character finished hacking and slaying her way through Egypt (second big area), although she’s more an arrow-shooting kind of girl. Now she’s in Asia (Babylon). I can’t help but keep comparing it to Diablo 2, it’s so similar in gameplay with the benefit of some improvements there. And how you find the final boss in Egypt and how you find it in Diablo 2 – better not talk about that. But it’s a fun game to play, and of course I have to see the end, so I keep playing. I just don’t know if I’ll play all three (*coughDiablo2cough) difficulty levels.

Games: Playing Right Now

14 Sep
  • I’m still playing Persona 3, a PS2 video game I started back in July. I already saw the “bad” ending, and now I’m preparing myself for the ending with the obligatory huge boss fight. I still have a few days to go, Persona 3 follows an in-game calendar and the final fight will be on January, 31th, and I’m in the first week of January. Right now, I think about rushing to finish this game because I can’t max out everything that’s possible to max this time around anyway so there’s not point in maxing out the things I can. But I’m stalling …
  • … which is why I started playing1. an online browser RPG where I just have to to click when I want my character go on a quest and some time later I get the result. It’s great for playing while I sit at the PC anyway and, for all the years I’ve played RPGs, it’s the first one I play online.

    2. A few days ago, I got more adventurous and started the “real” thing: a MMORPG (Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game) – Fiesta Online (EU version, there’s also a US version) where I actually have to play and interact with other players. It’s completely free, you don’t even have to buy a copy of the game, and I like its look. Other than the archer I normally play in RPGs, I went with a fighter for this. You can’t make a lot of mistakes when you just have to smack things, I think.

    Of course, I’m still soloing at the moment … *laugh*

  • I also bought a copy of Titan Quest (PC/RPG; like Diablo 2, only better looking and more comfortable, for example I don’t need to carry arrows for my bow) and a bundle of the two add-ons for Civilization IV (PC/Strategy). I got them all for 20 Euro so I couln’t resist when I saw them.