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Carol Evelin (Misery, Switzerland)

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The Capture Of The Earl Of Glencrae: Number 3 in series (Cynster Sisters)
The Capture Of The Earl Of Glencrae: Number 3 in series (Cynster Sisters)
by Stephanie Laurens
Edition: Paperback
Price: £6.79

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Somewhat Confused, 8 Oct 2014
I do find Stephanie's ability to place her heroines in jeopardy inventive and amusing. The fact that she managed to stretch this one over 3 books has to place it high on the list of most well done heroine perils. It has her usual mix of story and romance, though I would say less of the romance in this one - which is no bad thing. The same basic romantic interludes again and again can wear thin.

However I was somewhat confused reading this book because it features dear great aunt Clara. As I, like many others I suspect, have been reading these books as numbered in the Cynster family chart when she first appeared I thought, hang on, she died some books back. Which is in fact the case. In the list book number 10 "The Perfect Lover", Simon Cynster and Portia Ashford's story, it quite clearly states that Simon has inherited his estate from Clara almost immediately you start reading the book yet Angelica and Dominic's story is number 18, eight books later yet clearly taking place before "The Perfect Lover". So I actually went back through the books and put together a timeline based on the dates the books take place to give the correct reading order.

Prequel - The Promise in a Kiss - December 1776
1) Devil's Bride - August 1818
2) A Rake's Vow - October 1819
3) Scandal's Bride - December 1819
4) A Rogue's Proposal - March 1820
5) A Secret Love - April 1820
6) All About Love - June 1820
7) All About Passion - August 1820
8) On a Wild Night - February 1825
9) On a Wicked Dawn - May 1825
10) Temptation and Surrender - October 1825
11) Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue - February 1829
12) In Pursuit of Eliza Cynster - April 1829
13) The Capture of the Earl of Glencrae - June 1829
14) The Truth About Love - June 1831
15) What Price Love? - August 1831
16) The Taste of Innocence - February 1833
17) The Ideal Bride - June 1835
18) The Perfect Lover - July 1835
CBA1) Where the Heart Leads - November 1835
19) And Then She Fell - April 1837
20) The Taming of Ryder Cavanaugh - May 1837

While I can appreciate that Stephanie has a large group of characters to keep track of, not correcting the read list to take account of the changes brought about by more recent offerings doesn't help her fans. This is a simple change to make and I hope someone (author/editor) will pick this up and make the necessary alteration.

Rosetta Key, The (An Ethan Gage Adventure)
Rosetta Key, The (An Ethan Gage Adventure)
by William Dietrich
Edition: Paperback
Price: £7.99

3.0 out of 5 stars Lighthearted story, but unloveable main character, 8 May 2014
The second book in a series though I haven't read the first. Doesn't take itself seriously, but I found the main character, Gage, shallow, shelfish and pretty unloveable. Unfortunately, Dietrich couldn't even get the date of the Templars' arrest right. The year was 1307, not 1309. It's okay for a lighthearted holiday read, but not worth keeping in your library collection.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - the Official Guide (collector's Edition)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning - the Official Guide (collector's Edition)
by Future Press
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £17.33

4.0 out of 5 stars Great guide - missing basic, but very necessary info though, 13 Nov 2013
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I'm a strategy guide nut and always try and get them for my game playing. This is a pretty comprehensive guide for the game. It's full of lots of useful info: potion recipes, gem creation and blacksmithing are all well covered as are the various quests. There are a lot of the latter so 600 pages isn't just padding out. But what it could have done with was a couple of pages with the various consoles/PC controls/keys needed to actually play the game. It's been designed for consoles, but it wouldn't really have taken much just to provide a list of controls for all the play systems. I recently decided to play the game again and had to resort to starting a new toon and going through the tutorial part of the game just to find out which key I needed to work the tumblers when lockpicking (it's "D" btw) because the two brief (very brief) mentions of lockpicking in the guide don't have this info. Nor are they included in the in-game manual, which frankly is worse than useless. As these are a vital tool to enable you to play the lack of them in a 600 page tome is a major omission.

A few build ideas/guides would have been nice too, along the lines of those provided with D2. It would help new players get an idea of how various classes work when the various masteries are combined.

Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC DVD)
Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning (PC DVD)
Offered by Game Trade Online
Price: £6.63

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An okay game, 13 Nov 2013
= Fun:3.0 out of 5 stars 
I don't really know what to make of this game. There are some things I like about it, but unfortunately, many more I do not.

Firstly, the game seems fairly unbalanced to me on just one play through. The manual says that green items are rare and blues are unique so I didn't expect to see any early in the game. Wrong. The first merchant I could buy from had plenty of both and it stayed that way all through the game. I started playing a normal game, but eventually just found it to be too hard work and dropped down to casual play, not that it seemed to make much difference to the difficulty. Obviously this may have been corrected by later patches, but as the company who made it has gone bust it's unlikely to happen in the foreseeable future.

I liked the little demo videos which show you what special moves are available, that was a nice feature. Unfortunately, there's rarely time in the game to prepare for these moves as they usually need you to hold the LMB for a few seconds to charge the special move up and by then you've been swamped by several enemies and you're back to the old hack 'n' slash routine as it's also not easy to run away to gain yourself some space to reorganise. Timing is critical and when you get things right the game looks good. The shield block animation looks great when it happens.

The gaming area is huge and you have hours and hours of play time, sometimes too much. There are not many places that you can teleport to initially and although they do increase the farther into the game you go, the lack of a personal teleport system where you can just drop a teleport device (Titan Quest) anywhere (including underground), anytime and go some place else is a major disappointment as well as frustrating. I strongly advise getting your Mercantile skill up to the point where, when you find yourself overloaded and have to destroy items, you'll get 30% of the value back after destruction. Because another annoying feature is the lack of adequate inventory space. The game only allows you to buy 5 extra backpacks as you move through the game and that isn't nearly enough, especially when you're in the middle of "teleport nowhere" and can't get to a merchant without running ALL the way back the closest one. There is a cheat which does work, but unfortunately, by the time you reach that particular merchant in the game you will have lost a lot of goods through having to either leave them behind or destroying them. Using the cheat I ramped my backpack capability up to 200 and it still wasn't enough.

Also annoying is the fact that often when you clear an area and move a little away it immediately gets repopulated again. For me, this totally blows any sense of achievement you might feel of a job well done getting rid of the nasties.

The mini map is useful, but when you face the big bosses it totally vanishes so you have no way to see what area you have to work with. But as there seems to be no way to move much in the small space allowed for boss fights I suppose that isn't too much of a problem, though again I found it annoying. Trying to actually kill a boss is even more fun; there is a sweet spot somewhere that you have to hit, but finding it is pure guesswork. So even though the nasty's health goes right down, he doesn't die unless you've hit the right spot and after a few seconds he'll gain some health back again and carry on trying to kill you. And the fight will go on and on until you do kill him; it often took me 10 attempts before finally hitting the right area to result in a kill.

Of all the skills available the Detect Hidden was the most useful and I maxed it as soon as I could. Maxed it allows you to see treasure spots, traps, lorestones stones for achievement rewards and enemies. Sagecraft was also useful because in the end I bought clothing and weapons that I could socket with various gems rather than bother with Blacksmithing, though I built that up fairly high just to increase the effectiveness of the repair kits. Alchemy only up to 5 points as I didn't make that many different potions. Lockpicking and some Stealth, but I didn't both with Dispelling and simply ignored any chests that needed that skill in the end.

Might (Melee), Finesse (Ranged) and Sorcery (Magic) are your 3 abilities and you can mix and match as you will. Overall though, I felt underpowered and as though I was struggling a lot of the time even with maxed abilities and a casual play difficulty.

It was a relief to kill the final boss, but the game doesn't end there. If you want you can carry on playing, finishing any outstanding quests, finding missing achievement stones, etc.

The game does have a certain appeal and I may go back and give it another go to try out a different build, but a rating of 3 is all it warrants in my opinion.

Stronghold 3 Gold Edition (PC DVD)
Stronghold 3 Gold Edition (PC DVD)
Offered by 4GamersUK
Price: £5.90

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars In a word - appalling, 13 Nov 2013
= Fun:1.0 out of 5 stars 
How a company can take a great original game and ruin it so thoroughly I simply don't know. After a quick tutorial (just to get a feel for the controls because it teaches you very little about the game otherwise) and making a start on the ecomonic campaign I just couldn't stand the need to constantly click on an item to be able to pick it up out of the buildings menu due to unresponsive mouse control, jerky mouse scroll movement and the fact that to see most of the map area you're playing on means that figures are smaller than ants. Nor is there any way to turn the irritating scribe off unless you turn the speech volume down completely - and then you'll still have his written text all over your screen.

Stronghold and Stronghold Crusader were both fun to play games. Stronghold was one of the first games I had when I got my own PC (as opposed to having to share one) and I really enjoyed it and I still play it now and then all these years later. Stronghold 2 wasn't nearly as good. Frankly I see no need to have 3-D for these type of games. All it does it make map areas smaller and doesn't provide any benefits that I can see. But Stronghold 3 has gone even more downhill with its bad execution. The fact that you need Steam to play didn't please me either as I'm not a fan of the system and avoid it when I can.

I've seen rumours of a Stronghold Crusader 2 and can only say to Firefly please don't waste your time and money on it - because I won't be buying it and I doubt anyone else would either.

Dancer And The Moon
Dancer And The Moon
Offered by jim-exselecky
Price: £7.99

4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Nothing to write home about, 23 July 2013
This review is from: Dancer And The Moon (Audio CD)
Blackmore's Night are the only group I buy CD's of these days because I love the mix of old and comtemporary, vocal and instumental. But this is simply bland and each song sounds pretty much the same. There's nothing catchy, foot tapping or inspirational here, unlike so much of their other music. I wasn't that taken with "Autumn Sky" either and was looking forward to some great new music, but I guess I'll have to play their other albums instead. Disappointing.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 14, 2014 4:46 PM BST

Trio of Sorcery
Trio of Sorcery
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.98

4.0 out of 5 stars 2 out of 3 ain't bad, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Trio of Sorcery (Paperback)
I've waiting a long time for both Diana Tregarde and Jennifer Talldeer to make their reappearances and at last we have new stories for both. Diana's is from her early days after just becoming a Guardian while Jennifer's follows on from her only book so far, Sacred Ground.

I wasn't so enamoured of Ellen McBride as a character, nor her story. Firstly having her as a paid techno-shaman tramples on the previous concept that you don't get paid for doing magic to help people. Not only is she getting paid, she's getting paid very well. Call it changing times, but I find the loss of the concept sad, especially having read the other two stories. Secondly, well, I just didn't find it magical enough.

So for me, yes more Diana Tregarde and Jennifer Talldeer stories please, but leave Ellen McBride on the shelf. She's not interesting enough to write further about.

Home from the Sea (Elemental Masters)
Home from the Sea (Elemental Masters)
by Mercedes Lackey
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good addition to this series, 7 July 2013
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ML's Elemental Masters series is going from strength to strength with tie-ins to previously written about characters, yet each is a stand-alone story. I prefer this series over her Valdemar one as that seems to be doing nothing but rehash old storylines and conflicts which I find very disappointing. I'm looking forward to the next Elemental Masters book.

Bridge of Dreams (Ephemera)
Bridge of Dreams (Ephemera)
by Anne Bishop
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: £5.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good continuation of this series, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Lee's story is the subject of this book and carries on the good work of the previous ones. I like the way Ephemera seems to be changing as different people get added to the character list. I'm not that convinced by the 3 are 1 idea, it didn't really work for me, but certainly added an unusual dimension to the storyline. I would have preferred that The Voice was put before the main story and that the characters in it had been named as it took me a while to work out who the character was who was telling the story.

Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking
Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking
by Lara M. Rondinelli
Edition: Paperback

3.0 out of 5 stars Portions way too big, 7 July 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
6, 7 even 12 portions per recipe! Help! Trying to cut those figures down to a two person household isn't easy. The recipes look interesting, but I've still to work out smaller portions before trying, although quite a few are only for 4 people which makes it a bit easier. I also found it odd that the colour picture preceding a month wasn't actually one of that month's recipes, but one you'd find in two or three months' time. Delievered within the time estimated, although I was beginning to wonder if it had been lost in the post as I ordered it from a UK company, but it was shipped from the States.

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